07/24/2016 12:55PM

South Jersey man pays $20,000 for California Chrome's silks, saddle towel in charity auction


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.

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 before the start of the Del Mar Paddock Sale of horses of racing age for charity.

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 January, 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 2017.

This weekend was 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 when 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 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.