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Jan 16, 2015

California Chrome's Derby win voted 2014 Moment of the Year


Hallandale Beach, FL ( - Thoroughbred racing fans have voted as the top racing moment of 2014 the Kentucky Derby victory of California Chrome.

Of the 10 nominated events for the 2014 National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Moment of the Year, California Chrome's 1 3/4-length win in the $2 million Run for the Roses garnered the most votes cast. The 3-year- old's win over longshot Commanding Curve received 30.5 percent of the online ballots.

"California Chrome's win in the Kentucky Derby was the signature effort by one of the most popular racehorses of this decade," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA Senior Vice President of Marketing. "This year was arguably the deepest pool of moments we've ever had but in the end the fans reminded us that nothing trumps an awesome performance by a legendary horse."

The winning moment will be recognized at Saturday's 44th Annual Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park.

Last year's winning "Moment" was Mucho Macho Man's nose victory over Will Take Charge in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Here are the nominated moments with voting percentages:

Seven-year-old gelding Game On Dude wins the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths, becoming the first three-time winner in the Big 'Cap's rich 77- year history. (9.62)

With his victory aboard We Miss Artie in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez becomes the first North American rider to surpass $300 million in career earnings. (0.47)

California Chrome wins the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in front of a crowd of 164,906, second-largest in Derby history. He becomes the first horse bred in the Golden State to wear the garland of roses since Decidedly in 1962. It is the second Derby victory for jockey Victor Espinoza and first for Art Sherman, who became the oldest Derby-winning trainer at 77. (30.5)

California Chrome's quest to become racing's first Triple Crown winner in 36 years falls short as the heavy favorite dead-heats for fourth behind winner Tonalist in the 146th Belmont Stakes. The third-largest crowd in Belmont history, 102,199, watches the drama unfold, while another 20.6 million viewers, the second-highest Belmont viewership on record, tune in on NBC. In the aftermath co-owner Steve Coburn tells NBC's Kenny Rice that the result is "a coward's way out," a sound bite that is replayed countless times in mainstream media. (5.69)

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens saddles the top two finishers in the $1 million Travers, with V.E. Day besting stablemate Wicked Strong in the Mid-Summer Derby at Saratoga Race Course. (0.94)

Two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan returns after more than two months of recovery from emergency colic surgery to win the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course with John Velazquez up. (20.07)

Track announcer Tom Durkin calls the final race of his illustrious 43-year career at Saratoga Race Course. Following the featured Spinaway Stakes - in which "Condo Commando was splash-tastic!" - Durkin is treated to a long standing ovation and an emotional retirement ceremony in the winner's circle, coverage of which makes the front page of The New York Times. (17.49)

Two-time Horse of the Year Cigar dies at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital from complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck. The popular member of racing's Hall of Fame, who once won 16 consecutive races, had resided at the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions since his retirement in 1999. (4.99)

Jockey Rosie Napravnik announces her retirement and pregnancy live on NBC Sports after winning the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff aboard Untapable. (6.22)

Bayern survives a tense inquiry into bumping at the start to win a controversial running of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the first Classic win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, owner Kaleem Shah and jockey Martin Garcia. (3.99)

This was the 16th year that horse racing fans, through the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, have been able to cast votes for the top event in thoroughbred racing.

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