ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2016)–In his final work in preparation for Santa Anita’s Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Pasqual Stakes Jan. 9, 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, who was fitted with blinkers, worked a snappy six furlongs in 1:10.04 under Victor Espinoza prior to today’s first race at The Great Race Place.
Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome came on Santa Anita’s main track accompanied by a stable pony via the quarter mile chute at 11:48 a.m. and then jogged the “wrong way” up the track’s backstretch and around the Club House turn, stopping to turn around at the finish line, where he then headed back into the first turn.
From there, he broke free from the pony and was sent to the rail by Espinoza approaching the six furlong pole. A striking California-bred chestnut horse who is now age 5, “Chrome” cut out splits of 23.65, 46.66, 58.30 and 1:10.04 under idyllic conditions with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop.
“He’s the best he’s ever been since I’ve had him,” said Sherman, who first took over training duties early in the chestnut’s 2-year-old year. “He looks ready to me. I got him (galloping out) in 1:22.20 for seven eighths. If he has a good trip (in the San Pasqual), he’ll be tough to beat. He hasn’t run in nine months and there’s nothing like having a race, but working like this in front of the public is the next-best thing.
“He’s training good, acting good. He’s a lot different horse right now. He’s stronger and he’s more focused.”
Idle since running second in the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 28, California Chrome, who won four Grade I stakes in his 3-year-old year; the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Hollywood Derby, has an overall mark of 18-9-3-1, with earnings of $6,322,650.
Following his second place run in Dubai, which netted the owners a tidy $2 million, California Chrome was sent on what turned out to be a fruitless journey to England, where by all accounts, he lost a substantial amount of weight and therefore did not run as planned at Ascot this past July. Subsequent to that, he was sent Arlington Park in Chicago, where it was determined he would not run as planned in the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 15.
After a visit to Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky for some rehabilitation and freshening, California Chrome returned to Sherman’s Los Alamitos base on Oct. 13. Since arriving at Los Alamitos, he’s had six recorded works, beginning with a half mile in 50.20 on Nov. 21, and culminating with a seven furlong move last Sunday in 1:25.40.
California Chrome will remain at Santa Anita with Sherman through next Saturday’s San Pasqual.