By Claire Novak
Stretching out for the first time since returning to trainer Art Sherman’s barn in October, California Chrome breezed six furlongs Dec. 19 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Clocker Russ Hudak caught the defending Horse of the Year in splits of :25 4/5 and :49 4/5, giving him 1:13 4/5 for six furlongs with a gallop out in 1:28 3/5 under regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney.
“I thought (he went) very well,” Sherman said. “He’s getting closer. The gallop out was real strong and the last eighth of a mile I got him in :11 flat. That is moving. I’m very well-pleased with the way he’s going right now.”
The 4-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit is preparing for his first race since finishing second in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March, after taking time to recover from bone bruising at Taylor Made Farm His connections hope a race in the Jan. 9 San Pasqual (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park will lay the foundation for the 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner to make a return to Dubai.
The San Pasqual will be California Chrome’s first start for Taylor Made in partnership with co-breeder Perry Martin; the Nicholasville, Ky.-based operation bought out co-breeder Steve Coburn’s share earlier this year.
“He looks great,” Sherman said. “He’s matured. He’s a good-looking horse. I’m privileged to have a horse like him. We’ve got a couple of key works left and we’ll be ready for Jan. 9, I’m hoping.”
California Chrome will breeze Dec. 26 at Los Alamitos, and according to Sherman there is a possibility the chestnut colt could work between races at Santa Anita in his final pre-race move.
“They’ve been wanting to have him over there for the public and it would probably be beneficial for me; we’d just leave him over there and run on Jan. 9,” the trainer said.