Trainer Art Sherman had California Chrome’s regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard for the first time since the dual classic winner ran fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 while attempting to sweep the Triple Crown.
California Chrome was clocked in a smart :47 2/5, handily, the swiftest of 15 on the morning over the one-mile Los Alamitos oval.
“I wanted to crank down on him just a little bit, and it went perfect,” Sherman said in reference to bringing Espinoza up from Del Mar to ride California Chrome. “I caught him going :13 and two (1:13 2/5) for three-quarters. (California Chrome) puts a lot into his works, and when he’s on his game, he works really easy. I was really pleased with the work. We’ll keep stepping it up, we’ll go five-eighths (next time).”
It was the third workout for the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit since he returned to training last month following a five-week break, and by far his quickest. With exercise rider Anna Wells aboard each time, the sleek chestnut had a three-furlong move Aug. 8 in :37 3/5, followed by a half-mile drill Aug. 15 in :50 2/5.
Espinoza said California Chrome is getting stronger.
“I think he’s coming back good,” the jockey said. “It was pretty nice and easy.”
Sherman said California Chrome is scheduled to work next Aug. 29 at the Orange County track. There are also plans to have the colt drill at Los Alamitos during the Los Angeles County Fair meet Sept. 6 between the third and fourth races.
Plans call for California Chrome to run in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 20. If so, he would become the first Kentucky Derby winner to run at Parx Racing. Sherman told the Philadelphia News that California Chrome would ship for the race by Sept. 15.
The Pennsylvania Derby would be California Chrome’s final race before the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
If for some reason California Chrome is unable to make the race, Sherman said the $300,000 Awesome Again (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Santa Anita would be the second option.
Owned by his breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome has won five of six starts in 2014 while banking $3,317,800. In additon to his victories in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), he has also won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) this season.