Test Ride May Convince Dettori to Ride California Chrome at Ascot

CYPRESS, Calif. (May 29, 2015)– California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year, is scheduled to have a workout at Ascot in England on Thursday in advance of the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the same venue June 17.

Jockey Frankie Dettori is scheduled to work California Chrome and might ride the popular 4-year-old in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf, trainer Art Sherman said.

“If he likes him, I think he will” ride him, Sherman said on Friday from his base at Los Alamitos. “He hasn’t given me a commitment.”

Sherman said there are advantages to using an English-based jockey at Royal Ascot. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is run on a right-handed course, a change from the left-handed courses that California Chrome has raced on in the U.S. and Dubai.

“For that course, you want someone who rides over there,” Sherman said. “It’s a lot different going counterclockwise. I think it’s to my advantage to get a local person.”

On Thursday, California Chrome is scheduled to exercise with the 3-year-old Aktabantay, who won the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park last August for English trainer Hugo Palmer.

California Chrome has not raced since finishing second in the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 28. Shortly after that race, majority owner Perry Martin decided to ship California Chrome to England for a spring campaign.

California Chrome has been based with trainer Rae Guest in Newmarket since early April. A start in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at a straightaway mile on turf at Newbury Racecourse on May 16 was considered and then abandoned when it was decided that California Chrome would benefit with additional time between races.

Sherman has been in contact with Guest and his staff and plans to travel to England a week before the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Sherman’s son and assistant, Alan, is scheduled to leave for England on June 6.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes will be a tough test for California Chrome, who won his only previous start on turf in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar last November. California Chrome is a 12-1 shot with British bookmakers in the future book. The 4-1 favorite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is Free Eagle, who has not raced since finishing third in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot last October.