Horse picked to win the Kentucky Derby has ties to Kern County

Kern County connection to derby favorite

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The horse favored to win this year's Kentucky Derby has special ties to Kern County.

Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, lived in Bakersfield for a large part of his life. That is where he met his wife Carolyn White-Coburn who grew up in Lamont.

"All of their grandchildren are here and their kids and I'm extremely excited and nervous at the same time,” said Carolyn Coburn’s son Doug Black.

Carolyn Coburn’s brother told 23ABC her family is excited that her dream of having a horse race in the derby finally came true.

"I haven't spoken to everyone in the family, but those I have spoken with are just absolutely thrilled for my sister. This time it's all about my sister and the limelight she's in and we're just riding her coat tails,” said Larry White, brother of Carolyn Coburn.

Doug black told 23ABC his mother and step-dad have always been a fan of horse racing and they have been chasing the dream of going to the Kentucky Derby for three years now.

Black told 23ABC it all started with a horse named Love the Chase.

“The horse had never won a race,” said Black.

The Coburns decided to buy Love the Chase for $8,000 and then later spent $2,000 to breed her.

"They spent $2,000 on a fee for the dad who had never won a race over 5 furlongs and people thought they were absolutely crazy. California Chrome was born and so far he's made history,” said Black.

Black said people laughed at his mom and step-dad for entering the racing world and one trainer called them dumbasses.

“That’s actually where they got their name Dumb Ass Partners,” said Black.

The Coburns have since proved everyone wrong and now their horse could be the first California bred horse in 52 years to win the Kentucky Derby. California Chrome’s 77-year-old trainer could also make history by becoming the oldest trainer to win the derby.

"It's going to be thrilling! Win, lose, it doesn't matter. Steve is there, my sister is there and it’s thrilling,” said White.

"Never in a million years would I have thought they'd not only have a horse in the Kentucky Derby, but the actual favorite,” said Black.

Black also told 23ABC his parents were recently offered about six million dollars for California Chrome and they turned it down. Black told 23ABC his mother told him you can’t put a price on a dream.

"It's just one of those stories if you have a dream go and chase it you never know what's going to happen,” said Black.

Black also told 23ABC Steve and Carolyn Coburn are both average Americans who haven’t let success go to their heads.

Black’s sister is in Kentucky to watch the race and Black told 23ABC if California Chrome wins the Derby he will be at the Preakness to watch the horse race.

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