By Claire Novak
The world’s best racehorse did his thing Sept. 17 at Los Alamitos Race Course, working six furlongs in 1:13 1/5.
Los Al clockers caught California Chrome in splits of :25 3/5, :49 2/5, and 1:01 1/5 en route to his final time under regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney. Powering down the lane with relish, he finished up in the same impressive fashion he has shown trainer Art Sherman throughout his 5-year-old campaign.
The 2014 Horse of the Year—who at this point in his undefeated 2016 season is well on his way to a second top Eclipse Award—remains on course for a run in the Oct. 1 Awesome Again (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
“What impressed me was the last quarter of a mile; I got him in the last eighth of a mile in :11 and change, and that’s where the money is,” Sherman said. “He galloped out in :27. I’ll get one more work in him next Saturday going seven-eighths, and he’ll probably gallop out a mile, and we should be ready for the Awesome Again the following week.”
California Chrome has won five races this year, including the March 26 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I). Last time out he romped by five lengths over three-time champion Beholder in the Aug. 20 TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I). The Awesome Again will be his last start before a run in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I); it is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event to the Classic division, a race in which California Chrome finished third toward the end of his championship 3-year-old season that included victories in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes, both grade I.
Sherman said his brilliant chestnut is at the top of his competitive game.
“He knows he’s the man,” the trainer said. “His personality doesn’t change. When he gets there in the afternoon, he’s a different horse. He knows it’s game time. ‘Get tied on,’ that’s what he tells me.”