LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The aftermath of California Chrome's stirring victory should have brought nothing but joy to the pilot of the ship, jockey
He had, after all, won his second
He also had another shot at the
But, while Espinoza was thrilled with his ride on California Chrome and excited about the days ahead, he uncharacteristically changed the subject to what this victory really meant to him.
He said he had visited the children's cancer ward at
"It changed my life to see those kids," he said. "They don't know what life is about. I hope I make a change for this Kentucky Derby win to have more earnings for the kids that have cancer, and the City of Hope."
Wise Dan, a 7-year-old gelding who remains one of the best thoroughbreds of his generation, overcame early bumping and won the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
The race went off as the one before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Charlie LoPresti, jockey
Seek Again battled Wise Dan down the stretch and lost the battle by a head, to a veteran who has now won 21 times in 29 starts.
Wise Dan's $300,000-plus portion of the purse has him approaching $7 million in career earnings. He has won Eclipse awards as horse of the year, older male and champion turf horse in 2012 and 2013.
Asmussen trained the filly Rachel Alexandra to her Preakness victory in 2009.
He had a Derby entrant, longshot Tapiture, who would also be a Preakness candidate, and Asmussen said, prior to the running of the Derby, "It would be a very wise decision for us to keep them apart."
After Tapiture finished 15th, the prospects of a filly in the Preakness seemed to increase.
There was a scary three-horse spill in the third race of the day at
Two horses clipped heels, causing another to fall and sending three jockeys to the ground. Megan Fadlovich and Marcelino Pedroza were examined at a hospital. Fadlovich was reported to have concussion symptoms and Pedroza lower back pain. James Graham was OK and walked back to the jockey room.
The three horses, Swift Humor, Grand Slam Kid and Ranger Regiment, walked back to the barn.