ARCADIA, Calif. (May 22, 2014)–With Saturday’s Preakness Stakes still fresh in the national sports psyche, California Chrome’s trainer and jockey, Art Sherman and Victor Espinoza, were treated royally by the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday night in Anaheim, as the pair each threw out a ceremonial first pitch and were comprehensively feted throughout the evening.
From kibitzing with Halo manager Mike Scioscia to posing with and signing autographs for the likes of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, Espinoza and Sherman were greeted by well-wishers throughout the evening as they ready for the Belmont Stakes on June 7, the final leg in racing’s ultimate prize–The Triple Crown.
“I just can’t believe how well we were treated by everyone at Angel Stadium,” said Sherman from his Los Alamitos headquarters Thursday. “From the moment we arrived, people just couldn’t have been any nicer. They had me come down to the field and Mike Scioscia came over, introduced himself and he wanted to know all about the horse.
“I’ve been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, particularly since we won the Santa Anita Derby, but this was just unreal. The players were unbelievable. They invited Victor and I into the clubhouse and they all seemed genuinely interested in California Chrome. The Angels had me come on radio during the game, and here we are, talking about The Triple Crown and California Chrome and there’s a game going on!
“I just want to be sure to thank Tim Mead and everyone connected with their ball club. I still can’t believe it and, they invited us back again if we win The Triple Crown. We gotta win it now!”
In addition to an extensive tour of the Angels’ clubhouse and indoor batting facilities, they were treated to “ringside” seats in a luxury suite on the first base line and along with the horse, they each received monogrammed Angels game jerseys with their names on the back.
“They gave me number 37, ’cause that’s the year I was born and they gave Victor number three, because we won the Preakness from post position three.”
To top the California Chrome-themed festivities off, the Angels put “Chrome’s” Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes stretch runs on the large video board in the outfield prior to the seventh inning stretch.
“He won each time,” joked Sherman.
And so did the Halos, as ace Jered Weaver scattered two hits over nine innings to defeat the visiting Houston Astros 2-1, before a crowd of 40,112.