Espinoza loves chrome, California Chrome that is. The 72-year-old
Whittier resident has been attending the races at Santa Anita for the
last 20 years and on Saturday, he hit the jackpot in the Santa Anita
Derby Millionaire Contest as he was selected to pick the winner of Santa
Anita’s premier race for 3-year-olds that carries a $1 million purse.
With the old Beverly Hillbillies theme song; “Come and listen to a
story about a man named—EDWARD!” in mind, Espinoza picked California
Chrome and Santa Anita thus put up a $5,000 win bet on the horse—good
for a pari-mutuel return of $8,500.
But that’s only the beginning—if California Chrome “wins-out” through
the Triple Crown by taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont
Stakes, Jedd, make that Edward, will take down a cool million dollars,
courtesy of The Great Race Place.
“I like to come out here on Saturdays with my sister (Sylvia) and my
niece (Kim),” said Espinoza following the Derby. “On Sundays, I usually
do something with my wife (of 14 years, Susan) and we’ll take a trip
somewhere with what we made on the Derby.” When asked if he’d be
journeying to Louisville for the Run for the Roses on May 3, he
responded, “No, I’m gonna watch the Derby right here at Santa Anita.”
And there’s a good chance Espinoza will have plenty of company, as
Santa Anita will play host to its first-ever “Kentucky Derby Bluegrass
Party” on May 3, which will feature live music, craft beers, gourmet
food trucks and live racing.
Not so surprisingly, Espinoza categorized Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby
as “The best race I’ve ever seen. This race takes the cake.”
And, with the stars aligned and with the blessing of the racing gods,
California Chrome will streak to Triple Crown immortality and Edward
Espinoza can then find a million ways to “have his Cake and eat it,