California Chrome and Candy Boy, the two favorites for next Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, had their final major drills Saturday morning for their highly anticipated meeting, California Chrome working four furlongs at his Los Alamitos headquarters in 46.40 under regular rider Victor Espinoza, and Candy Boy going six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:11.80 under regular rider Gary Stevens.

“He looked sharp,” trainer Art Sherman said of California Chrome. “He galloped out strong, five furlongs in a minute, and three-quarters in 1:13 2/5. All systems are go. His work was super; I was very impressed . . . I’ll get him over there, school him in the gate, go through the paddock and then we’ll be ready to go. Since it’s supposed to rain Tuesday, we might go over Wednesday.

“He’s doing great over here. All our horses are running good from here, and they go over (to Santa Anita) and win so it must be beneficial to train here. I like an all-dirt track anyhow, I always have. I rode for a lot of years and I always liked riding on dirt.

Added Espinoza: “It was excellent. It was easy for him, forty-six and two, a little bit fast. He was even more on the muscle today (than in his previous work). He was excited to go. I’m just happy to be on him and I look forward to every race he runs.”

Candy Boy, working in company with Prospector Alley, started about five lengths behind his stablemate and finished up four in front, tracking most of the way before taking the lead near the 16th pole. Private clocker Gary Young got the seven furlong gallop out in 1:26.

“We’re where we want to be with him,” trainer John Sadler said. “Everything has gone according to schedule so far.”

Possible for the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the May 3 Kentucky Derby: California Chrome, Victor Espinoza; Bayern, no rider; Hoppertunity, no rider; Candy Boy, Gary Stevens; Dublin Up, no rider; Big Tire, no rider; Friendswith K Mill, Tyler Baze; Rprettyboyfloyd, Rafael Bejarano; The Admiral, no rider; and Schoolofhardrocks, Joe Talamo.

Friendswith K Mill worked five furlongs for Doug O’Neill Saturday in one minute flat, while Big Tire went six furlongs in 1:12.80 for Mark Glatt.

Post positions for the Santa Anita Derby will be drawn on Wednesday. First post time next Saturday will be 12 noon.

Nearly $2 million in stakes purses will be offered on Santa Anita Derby Day. In addition, Santa Anita will have a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 and present free Derby Day T-shirts with paid admission, while supplies last, and have more than 30 premium local food trucks throughout the infield.

The annual Santa Anita Derby Day 5K run also will take place, and the track’s spacious infield will be rocking with popular local breweries and epic cover tunes from Super Diamond, in addition to live world-class horse racing.

Special packages are available at Use promo code DERBY for 50 percent discounts.


Fashion Plate worked five furlongs Saturday in 59.60 for the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks next Saturday. It will mark her first start since capturing the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 1, a span of more than two months.

“We were always going to wait for this race,” trainer Simon Callaghan said in explaining the gap between starts. “It’s good timing and for fillies, I think proper spacing is important. She’s doing everything right and we’re looking forward to the race.”

Probable for the Oaks: Arethusa, Rafael Bejarano; Fashion Plate, Gary Stevens; Honey Ride, Tyler Baze; and Ria Antonia, Mike Smith.

FINISH LINES: Harlington’s Rose, prepping for the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes next Saturday, worked four furlongs for Steve Knapp in 48 flat under exercise rider Fernando Serna . . . Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle worked five furlongs for Bob Baffert in a bullet 58.60, while Blue Grass Stakes-bound Dance With Fate went six furlongs for Peter Eurton in 1:12.80. San Pasqual Stakes runner-up Imperative, headed for the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19, went five furlongs for George Papaprodromou in a minute flat . . . Trainer Craig Lewis hopes to use Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile as a steppingstone to the Charles Town Classic for recent millionaire Clubhouse Ride . . . Nashoba’s Gold, ticketed for next Saturday’s Grade III Providencia Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, went four furlongs on turf in a bullet 49.60 for Carla Gaines . . . With his 40th career win in Friday’s fifth race on Swift Eagle, apprentice Drayden Van Dyke lost two pounds from his weight allowance and now receives a five-pound advantage . . . “Across the Board” featuring trainer Art Sherman and his son, trainer Alan Sherman, will air on HRTV Wednesday, April 2 at 5 p.m., and repeat throughout the week. California Chrome and “Team Sherman” will also be featured in the L.A. Times on Thursday in a column by Bill Dwyre.