FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --We're approaching the end of one of the Valley's most exciting eras in sports history. The success of California Chrome attracted even non-horse racing fans but, the Valley-bred horse will race for a final time on Saturday.
Seeing California Chrome in person at Harris Farms in Coalinga, you were struck by his playfulness and his smaller size when compared to other racehorses.
In June of 2014, Chrome came home to where he was born and raised after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown but lost in the Belmont Stakes. Harris Farms CEO John Harris recalled the unbelievable stretch.
"It was really touching," he said. "Every time he won, I started to cry. We thought he was going to do okay, but we didn't know he'd be that good."
Trainer Per Antonsen and others who took care of California Chrome in Coalinga were so proud to see "Chromies" across the country fall in love with their horse.
"It's really been amazing," Harris said. "I thought he'd be a good horse, but he's really surpassed everyone's expectations and he's won 16 races."
Harris holds out hope one of these horses on the ranch may be the next superstar. A $10,000 investment paid off big for California Chrome's owners.
"He showed you that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good horse. He's a real Cinderella story," he said.
The final chapter of the saga comes Saturday at the Pegasus Cup in Florida. A win would make California Chrome the first horse to top $20 million in career earnings. The five-year-old may have moved to Kentucky but the Valley will always be home.
"It gave us a lot of bragging rights," Harris said. "It shows it's possible to do, and it's a horse right out of the San Joaquin Valley and California turns out to be the world's best horse."
After the's race, California Chrome will be retired to stud in Kentucky. The two-time horse of the year will command a stud fee of $40,000.