By Jeremy Balan
On his day, at his home track, and a bit out of his normal workout routine, California Chrome still gave trainer Art Sherman just what he wanted Sept. 10 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
With his normal 5:30 a.m. work time moved back to 7:30 to accommodate a host of fans out for California Chrome Day in the City of Cypress, the 2014 Horse of the Year covered five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
Sherman watched through his binoculars from the Los Alamitos grandstand, because his normal perch on the patio at Schwanie’s at the Gap was overflowing with “Chromies,” but the trainer liked what he saw.
“He went just the way I wanted,” Sherman said. “He was relaxed and he doesn’t need much. He’s been running great and he’s right on schedule.”
The son of Lucky Pulpit pulled a little with an eagerness to run under exercise rider Dihigi Gladney in the backstretch, but settled soon after to run fractions of :24 and change, :36 4/5, and :48 flat, according to Sherman’s stopwatch.
“He’ll pull a lotta bit if you don’t watch him,” Gladney said with a laugh after the drill, already up on another worker for Sherman. “If you’re not careful, before you know it he’ll snatch you up and work another eighth of a mile on you. Down the backside, I had to keep him off the rail, because he knows the difference. I think he counts the days down to his next race.”
Sherman said California Chrome will get two more works at Los Alamitos before shipping north to Santa Anita Park for some schooling sessions ahead of his next scheduled start in the 1 1/8-mile Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 1, his final race before the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
“I don’t need to do a lot with him,” the trainer said. “It’s a shorter race and he’s fit. I like to keep him fresh into the races. That’s when he runs best. It would be easy to go fast, but now that he’s in a pattern where he’s running every five weeks, we don’t need to do too much.”
The 5-year-old chestnut is undefeated in five 2016 starts, including top-level wins in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) and the TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) last time out Aug. 20.