By Jeremy Balan
CYPRESS, CA (August 7, 2016)-Art and Alan Sherman wanted California Chrome to run an easy half-mile in his first breeze following a hard-earned victory in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), and the father-son training duo got what they asked for Aug. 7 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The 2014 Horse of the Year—without blinkers on—showed an eagerness to run and pulled against regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney approaching the half-mile pole on backstretch, but once the chestnut got into his work, he settled into an easy stride under the lights in the early-morning twilight at Los Alamitos.
California Chrome’s final time from Los Alamitos clockers was :47 4/5, just a tick off the Shermans’ time of :47 3/5, in his first of two scheduled workouts in preparation for the Pacific Classic (gr. I).
“He was just breezed down there. He’s coming into the race good,” Art Sherman said. “I don’t have to train him. We know Chrome and we don’t have to get the fast works in between. He’s coming into the race strong.
“It looked like a high gallop to me as he went by. As long as he keeps sound and feeling good, I think we’ll be ready for the Pacific Classic.”
According to Alan Sherman, who has been supervising the Sherman barn at Los Alamitos while his father runs their string at Del Mar, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit has been feeling awfully good since returning home from San Diego County.
“He came out of the race on fire,” Alan Sherman said. “He’s been training better now than he was going into the San Diego. He’s just more on the muscle and yesterday he was bucking. He doesn’t do a lot of bucking, but he did yesterday. He’s ready to do a little more.”
Art Sherman has also been impressed with California Chrome’s condition after a prolonged duel with Dortmund in the San Diego.
“We thought we’d get an easy trip (in the San Diego) and here they are, a tick off the track record,” Art Sherman said. “There goes the easy race. But my horse really recovered fast. I thought he’d be a lot more tired than he was, because it was a tough race. They hooked up like it was a match race from the head of the stretch home.”
The elder Sherman was also hopeful California Chrome and Dortmund will be joined by defending Pacific Classic winner Beholder, despite the fact that she lost her first race since 2014 last time out in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I), in a strangely similar stretch battle with Stellar Wind.
“I hope the mare runs,” Art Sherman said. “I would love to see her in there. I just think it would be great for the public to have those three horses in there. It can be the Battle of the Sexes.”
Up next on California Chrome’s schedule leading up to the Pacific Classic are his daily two-mile daily gallops, followed by a final breeze Aug. 14 at Los Alamitos. He’ll ship south to Del Mar Aug. 15 to school and gallop in the week ahead of the Aug. 20 race. Unlike his preparations for the San Diego, the Shermans are opting not to work California Chrome at Del Mar.
“There’s just so much action down at Del Mar and this is home,” Art Sherman said.