By Jeremy Balan
California Chrome continued his training toward his scheduled return in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 9 with a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 Nov. 28 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The 2014 Horse of the Year breezed Saturday morning under regular rider Dihigi Gladney, running the first quarter in :25 2/5 and the second in :23 flat, according to Los Alamitos clocker Russ Hudak.
“He looked super today,” trainer Art Sherman said. “He seems like he’s getting stronger and stronger each work. He’s right on schedule, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we don’t hit any bumps in the road.”
It was the fourth timed workout since the 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt returned to Los Alamitos in October after being turned out at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky. Beginning Nov. 7 (two furlongs, :26 3/5), he’s progressively worked faster and longer each week. On Nov. 14, he covered three furlongs in :39 3/5 and he stretched out to a half-mile Nov. 21 (:50 1/5).
The trainer also said regular race rider Victor Espinoza will be called upon later in December, once California Chrome begins stretching out his workouts in preparation for the 1 1/16-mile San Pasqual. It will be his first start since running second in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 28.
“We won’t get serious until he gets to five-eighths and three-quarters,” Sherman said. “Then we’ll get the jockey out here.”