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The second time was the charm for California Chrome as he entered the gate for the Dubai World Cup. He’d looked most impressive all week leading up to the Cup, even among the standout horses that lined up to face him.

I’d had a good feeling about him going into this year’s edition of the world’s richest horse race, as said in yesterday’s blog post.

And he gave every indication from the moment the race began of living up to the promise he showed in the Derby and the Preakness several years ago, and of the ease that he won his prep race with there in Dubai in February.

And that is precisely what his victory today could best be summarized by: ease.

When they broke from the gate, Chrome was in constant contact with the pacesetters, and he looked like an insurmountable powerhouse, just waiting for the cue to run freely and make the race his own.

When the cue came, he was gone in nearly the blink of an eye. He opened up an impressive margin incredibly rapidly, that left his opponents so far in his wake that the race fully did belong to him alone.

It was all Chrome at the wire, cruising home much the best.

What a thrill to see a dominant performance by such a fan favorite, and to see him still racing.

Speaking of thrills, how incredible have the past 12 months been for Victor Espinoza?

Of course it’s well-known what he’s achieved during that time, but it’s also worth a recap:

Winning back-to-back Kentucky Derbies, no doubt even sweeter after a long hiatus from the renowned race; becoming the 12th jockey to win the Triple Crown; and capping a career of nearly unparalleled excellence for American Pharaoh with one last tour-de-force in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

On equal par with the triumphs, definitely, is what a tremendous ambassador for racing Espinoza has been during all those victories, a role he carries out with graciousness to this day.

He and Chrome are so well deserving of their status, of having earned the honor of being the toast of the racing world after today’s triumph.

Espinoza’s ride aboard Chrome echoed his rides aboard Pharoah last year. His timing and his rapport with his mount were in full evidence, and that is wonderful to witness a horse and jockey so perfectly in sync. It is like watching a master at work.

Congratulations to Chrome and his connections! They had faith in their horse, and it paid off handsomely. Chrome has now firmly stamped himself among the best horses of the decade, at a minimum.

And that is a bright spot to savor, a shining example of racing at its finest.