WITH ESPINOZA UP, ‘CHROME’ SET FOR FINAL WORK IN ADVANCE OF SHOWDOWN WITH DORTMUND
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 31, 2015)–Reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome will work six furlongs prior to Saturday’s first race at Santa Anita, as he prepares for a much anticipated showdown with 2015 Santa Anita Derby winner, Dortmund. Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome will be handled by regular rider Victor Espinoza immediately following public address announcements at approximately 12:05 p.m., PST.
One of the greatest Cinderella stories in Thoroughbred history, California Chrome, a striking chestnut colt by Lucky Pulpit out of the Not For Love mare, Love the Chase, purloined victories in 2014’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes and Grade I Santa Anita Derby to triumphs in the both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Idle since running second in the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 28, “Chrome” was subsequently sent by his owners to England and then to Arlington Park near Chicago prior to being vanned to Taylor Made Stallions in Kentucky for some much needed time off and an opportunity to regain a substantial amount of weight. He was returned to his home base with Sherman at Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County on Oct. 13.
In what shapes up as the first meeting between two Santa Anita Derby winners in nearly 50 years (1965 Santa Anita Derby winner Lucky Debonaire and ’64 winner, Hill Rise, ran 1-5 in the 1966 Santa Anita Handicap), California Chrome has had seven works at Los Alamitos for his return, while Dortmund, who is undefeated at Santa Anita in five starts, has worked twice for Bob Baffert following his rousing 4 ½ length win in Del Mar’s Grade III, 1 1/8 miles Native Diver Stakes on Nov. 28.
Following his seven furlong move last Sunday in 1:25.40, Espinoza suggested to Sherman that his stable superstar be allowed to work in blinkers this Saturday at The Great Race Place.
“He didn’t work in blinkers last Sunday, but he’ll have them on (this) Saturday,” said Espinoza this morning. “He worked good last Sunday. I guess without blinkers he’s not an excellent work horse, but even with small blinkers, you have to be careful because he will go a little fast.
“He grew up a little since last March. His neck is thicker and he’s much sounder. The time off has helped him recover from minor issues he had with his body.”
Santa Anita will present a nine-race card on Saturday, with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m. First post time is at 12:30 p.m.