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Amherst Co. couple has special connection to California Chrome

By Nadine Maeser, nmaeser@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 06 2014 05:37:30 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2014 08:35:06 PM EDT

A couple from Amherst County has a special connection to Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome

AMHERST COUNTY, Va. -

A couple from Amherst County is sharing their story of love and new found friendship and it couldn't come at a better time.

The Belmont Stakes is less than 24 hours away. It's the popular thoroughbred horse race held every year in New York and one horse has a lot on the line this year and that’s why the local couple is keeping an eye on the track.

Newlyweds Carol and Tony Metts are still on a high from their honeymoon.

"We weren't expecting to meet anybody but the way it turned out, of course, ya know, it was good,” said Tony Metts.

The couple didn't have your average honeymoon trip planned. They went to the Kentucky Derby.

"I mean, you watch it every year on TV,” said Carol Metts. “I said next time, I want to go to that.”

The two decided not to break the bank and ended up staying about 50 miles away from the horse track on the eve of the derby and stopped to get a bite to eat.

"We went to the Longhorn Steakhouse right there in Frankfurt, Kentucky,” said Metts.

It was there that a waitress introduced the couple to another couple.

"Had no idea who we were meeting and when she introduced us she said Tony and Carol this is Steve and Carolynn Coburn, the owners of California Chrome,” said Tony.

The two couples ate, drank and talked for hours before snapping a picture and parting ways, according to Tony. The Coburns even gave the Metts some pins and California Chrome memorabilia.

Hours later, California Chrome went on to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Tony said he couldn't believe how lucky he and his new wife were to meet such down to earth people, especially in that part of Kentucky.

Weeks later, California Chrome is now going after the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes.

The Metts said they feel a special connection to the Coburns and will always be two of California Chrome's biggest fans.

"They deserve it those kinds of folks,” said Tony. “There’s millions and millions dollars spent on horses and to have this story from a couple in Amherst to be able to share derby eve with somebody of that magnitude, it's a dream come true for us."

The Metts said there's a lot more riding on Saturday’s race than just a winning title.

Apparently, Steve Coburn's sister died of cancer when she was 36-years-old.   California Chrome was born on her birthday.

If the horse wins the Triple Crown tomorrow, it will be 36 years since a horse has won that title.

The Metts said that is just one more reason why they are pulling for the horse and Coburn family Saturday.