06/08/2014 9:29AM

Belmont Stakes: California Chrome to rest


ELMONT, N.Y. – California Chrome emerged from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes with a minor injury to his right front hoof and will be given a lengthy rest before a scheduled return to racing this fall, trainer Art Sherman said Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

“He’s good, other than having a good chunk of his quarter cut,” Sherman said. “We’ll get that healed up at the barn for two to three weeks, then stop on him for six or seven weeks, give him some pasture time. He needs a rest.”

That itinerary would take California Chrome out of consideration for any major races this summer such as the Travers Stakes at Saratoga or the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Sherman said his late-season goal with California Chrome is the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

“We’ll keep him in California, get him ready for the Breeders’ Cup,” Sherman said. “It’s where he runs his best races. It’s home for us.”

California Chrome flew back to California on Sunday afternoon. He is based at Los Alamitos in Southern California.

The Belmont was the 13th career start for California Chrome, who has not had a break from racing or training since he began his racing career in April 2013.

California Chrome had won six straight races going into the Belmont, including the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes. He was attempting to become the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner. But at the start of the race, California Chrome’s right front foot was stepped on by the left front foot of Matterhorn. He also raced in traffic for much of the backstretch under jockey Victor Espinoza and did not have the same acceleration in the stretch as he had in his prior three races.

“On the backside, he was in all kinds of trouble,” Sherman said. “Victor was trying to get out, but they kept pushing him down. He had six straight races where he got good trips. That’s part of it. You can’t blame the other jocks. They know he’s the horse to beat. But we’re here, and we’ll fight another day. He didn’t have that kick. Something was bugging him. It might have been stinging him. I think deep down, if he didn’t have a few obstacles, he would have been tough.”

Sherman said he was alarmed when he first saw blood coming from California Chrome’s right front foot after the race.

“It’s scary to see him come back bleeding from the foot,” he said. “But it wasn’t deep. It was superficial. The worst thing that could have happened would be if he had hit that tendon.”

Sherman said the Triple Crown trail was “a great ride for me.”

“I’m the same old Art,” he said. “I got up, put my boots on. Except that I did win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and I hadn’t done that before.”