07/25/2016 10:00AM

California Chrome's silks, saddle towel sold for charity

Benoit & Associates
California Chrome's silks and saddle towel worn in the San Diego Handicap sold for a winning bid of $20,000 in a charity auction after the race.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Mark Stanton came to California for a weekend of beach time and bets at Del Mar. He went home to South Jersey with a memento that fit comfortably in his carry-on luggage.

On Saturday evening, Stanton paid $20,000 for the silks and saddle towel worn by California Chrome a few hours earlier en route to a win in the San Diego Handicap. The silks and saddle towel were auctioned for charity before the start of the Del Mar Paddock Sale of horses of racing age.

Proceeds went to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation is named in honor of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach at North Carolina State University who died of cancer.

For the 40-year-old Stanton, who has a commercial kitchen equipment business in Cherry Hill, N.J., the auction was personal. His mother, Ellen, died of breast cancer.

Stanton found his way to Del Mar over the weekend for a handicapping tournament. Last year, he qualified for the Daily Racing Form-NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas; his goal is to gain a berth to the same event in January.

Last weekend marked the third consecutive year Stanton has traveled to Del Mar for the summer meeting.

“I love this place,” he said shortly after the auction, holding California Chrome’s gray silks in his hands.

The San Diego was the second time Stanton saw California Chrome race. He and friends traveled to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where California Chrome was third in the BC Classic.

Stanton already has plans for the newly purchased silks.

“I’ll frame this and put it over my bed,” he said.

The charity auction is part of a pledge by California Chrome’s owners to donate a portion of the popular horse’s earnings to the V Foundation in the coming months. The idea was formed in recent weeks by co-owners Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farms.

The amount of the donation will grow with more success by California Chrome.

“We hope it will be over $1 million,” Frank Taylor said on Saturday.