Sitting at his home in Hurricane, Utah, trainer Greg James had his eyes locked on the television, watching a horse race some 390 miles away at Santa Anita.
His emotions were mixed, though heavily leaning toward happy. He was watching Smokey Image, who until a few months ago had been a fixture in his barn in Northern California, win the $250,000 California Cup Derby on Saturday.
"I was very happy for him," James said by phone. "He's a nice horse. He's been a nice horse since his first 5/8th [mile] workout."
Win doesn't quite capture the 3-year-old colt's performance. He blistered the field of seven by 8 1/2 lengths without ever being asked to run hard....
Jockey Victor Espinoza guides California Chrome to a wire-to-wire victory in the San Felipe Stakes last month at Santa Anita Park.