By Jay Privman
DEL MAR, Calif. – California Chrome looked as though he was all set for his first start since the Dubai World Cup when he worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds Saturday morning at Del Mar, a work that was vastly superior to what he was doing recently at Los Alamitos.
With exercise rider Dihigi Gladney aboard, California Chrome broke off at the five-furlong pole and had splits of 12 seconds for the initial furlong, 23.80 for a quarter, 35.60 for three furlongs, and then went the final quarter in 23.60 seconds to complete five furlongs in 59.20. He was going so effortlessly that Del Mar’s clockers gave him the rarely designated “breezing” to describe the work.
California Chrome went out six furlongs in 1:13.
The work should have California Chrome on target for next Saturday’s Grade 2 San Diego, in which he is expected to face the likes of Dortmund, Follow Me Crev, and Hard Aces in his first start in nearly four months.
The 1 1/16-mile San Diego is a handicap, and weights will be out on Sunday.
The track was closed for 10 minutes after the midmorning renovation break to only allow San Diego Handicap runners to exercise. It was during that time that both California Chrome and Hard Aces drilled. Hard Aces went six furlongs in 1:13.80.
California Chrome has not raced at Del Mar since his victory in November 2014 in the Hollywood Derby, which clinched for him titles as Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male. After a 2015 campaign interrupted by injury, he has won all three of his starts this year, one at Santa Anita and two in Dubai.