Sitting on my desk is a baseball cap sporting the Call 811 logo on the front and on one side, the words, "California Chrome." On the other side is an embroidered image of a buck-toothed donkey. It is, for all intents and purposes, California Chrome's logo.
Somehow it doesn't seem right that this magnificent race horse – a potential Triple Crown winner, and the great great great grandson of Secretariat, should be represented by a donkey.
The back story to California' Chrome's success and unlikely rise to race-day favorite explains the logo and it's worth knowing if for nothing more than conversation before the Preakness or over a cold one.
There's been plenty of media coverage about Chrome's blue collar owners, most notably Steve Coburn, who –unlike many of the wealthy owners we are accustomed to seeing in the grandstand, works as a press operator making magnetic strips. (read more here)
As we worked through the television story of how Virginia 811 became part of Chrome's sponsorship team, CEO Rick Pevarski told me how the donkey came to be.
"There are only two logos on California Chrome," he said. "One is Virginia 811, and the other is a circle with the letters DAP on Chrome's blinker hood." (The "mask" race horses wear.) "DAP he explained, "… stands for Dumb Ass Partners."
What better way to represent a dumb ass that with a bucktoothed donkey?
The story goes that Coburn and Perry Martin and their wives, who bought Chrome's dam (mother) Love the Chase, for a meager $8,000 were ridiculed by another owner citing the mare's less than stellar racing career. According to legend, he walked by and said only a "dumb ass" would buy that horse.
Coburn and Martin decided to call their enterprise Dumb Ass Partners and the rest is history. Unless of course in two weeks, California Chrome continues to re-write it by winning the Triple Crown.
By the way, the partners recently turned down an offer of $2.1 million for Love the Chase. She is apparently worth much more.
Dumb Asses indeed.
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