Boston.com RDNERVILLE, Nev.—Theirs is an unexpected love affair, which began with a slap on the knee and the words, ‘‘Let’s dance.’’
Steve Coburn and Carolyn Black were in their 40s and relationship-weary from marriages gone bad. They were introduced at a party, and Coburn wanted to dance. He found Carolyn ‘‘real pretty”; she found him ‘‘kind of loud.’’
‘‘He taught me to do the two-step,’’ Carolyn said softly, smiling at the recollection. ‘‘He comes across kind of red-neckish, but he’s such a gentle soul.’’
Coburn sipped his Coors. ‘‘Oh, I know how to dance,’’ he said. ‘‘I can do the ‘Fat Boy Boogie’ pretty damn good.’’
The Coburns, married now for 20 years, believe the planets aligned to bring them together. In the same way, they hold firm that some greater force handed them another improbable gift: a thoroughbred they call Junior, known to the world as California Chrome, the copper-colored colt with flashy white markings who has a date with destiny Saturday as he tries to win horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The Coburns are part-owners of Chrome—as they also call him—who after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes will try for racing’s holy grail at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The horse has taken the couple on the ride of their lives, inspired a seen-it-all 77-year-old trainer to dance until dawn, and given an overlooked jockey—who grew up in Mexico riding donkeys—one final chance at racing immortality. Keep Reading…