California Chrome Goes in Company at Los Al

By Jeremy Balan
Art Sherman didn’t get what he wanted out of California Chrome during his workout July 2, so he made sure he got it July 9, in the chestnut’s final drill at Los Alamitos Race Course before shipping south to Del Mar for the July 23 San Diego Handicap (gr. II).

In a scheduled mile work in company, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit   broke four lengths behind stablemate Mishegas and tossed his head exiting the first turn, showing an eagerness to run. He settled into stride in the backstretch before moving up in the far turn, but was still under a tight hold from exercise rider Dihigi Gladney approaching the eighth pole, and hadn’t passed Mishegas when Sherman had enough.

“Let him go!” the trainer yelled from his perch at Schwanies At The Gap, Los Alamitos’ trackside café.

The exercise rider released his hold, asked California Chrome a bit, and the 2014 Horse of the Year responded.

California Chrome was credited with a mile in 1:39 3/5 by Los Alamitos clocker Russ Hudak, finishing about two lengths ahead of Mishegas—who was given seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5—and the gallop out through the turn was strong. By the time he reached the backstretch a second time, California Chrome was about six lengths clear of his workmate.

The decision to breeze California Chrome in company came after his last work, a seven-furlong move in 1:26 2/5 that Sherman felt should have been stronger.

“I wasn’t really happy with the last work, even though the track was a little slow,” Sherman said. “I thought he wasn’t up to par for what I wanted. If he went in 1:25 and change, I would have been happy, but he went five lengths slower.

“We just wanted to get him more focused. He’s kinda been relaxed and this will put him on par. Wait until you see him in the afternoon. He’s quite a different horse.”

The five-time grade I winner will log his next workout at Del Mar July 16 and Sherman said it will likely be without company and at five furlongs. The trainer also said his star trainee will ship south July 13.