11/30/2014 11:52AM

California Chrome in fine shape after winning turf debut

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Emily Shields
California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby by two lengths Saturday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Looking fresh, fit, and, if you got too close to him, quite dangerous, California Chrome was in fine condition at Del Mar on Sunday morning, the day after he made a successful move to the turf when capturing the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

“He came out of the race real good,” trainer Art Sherman said as California Chrome was being walked Sunday morning. “His knees and ankles are nice and tight. I couldn’t be happier.”

California Chrome enjoyed his time in the morning sun so much that he repeatedly balked at being put back into his stall and finally had to be backed into it. He also started to get a bit studdish, displaying the wares that will not be needed in the breeding shed for at least another year, since he is to remain in training at age 4 in 2015.

“He’s still a stallion, and he’ll let you know it every once in a while,” Sherman said.

California Chrome was scheduled to return to Sherman’s main barn at Los Alamitos on Sunday afternoon. Sherman said he would continue to keep California Chrome in light training, reticent is he to let the horse down too much.

“I won’t work him too quick back, but I’ve got to train him because he gets too high otherwise,” Sherman said.

Plans are for California Chrome to not race again until the early part of 2015, initially at Santa Anita. After that, Sherman and owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn will have to decide whether to head to a race like the Dubai World Cup, which is back on dirt next year.

The win on turf Saturday also opens possibilities on that surface for next year, which was one of the reasons Sherman was eager to try him on it. Sherman said his previous years as a jockey taught him which horses would like grass.

“You can tell by their movement. I never liked a high reacher, a horse who had high action in front,” he said. “You want a horse like him, who carries his head lower and skips across the ground. It’s a different feeling, and he’s got it.”

Sherman said he enjoyed the reception California Chrome got both before and after the race.

“When he was coming through the tunnel, people were chanting his name. He’s a real rock star,” Sherman said.

So, California Chrome completes his 2014 campaign with six wins in nine starts, including four Grade 1 wins – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and Hollywood Derby. He is the only horse in this country with Grade 1 wins on turf and dirt.

When California Chrome returns in 2015, it will be after the Eclipse Awards are announced in mid-January. California Chrome figures to be a top candidate for two awards – champion male 3-year-old and Horse of the Year.

“He’s one of those horses that I’m very fortunate to have,” Sherman said. “He’s quite a horse.”

Mr. Mongo98 More than 1 year ago
so what
mike More than 1 year ago
You sound bitter,guess your $5 didn't go far betting against him last weekend.
Brad More than 1 year ago
Hope Chrome come to Arlington for the Million. Think it would bring some Euro studs here to take him on. Would be the biggest crowd since Cigar.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
No doubt.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
I would like to see Chrome, Up with The Birds, and some good Euro's ship in for the Million. That would be some race.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Add Lexie Lou, too. That would be the race of the (early) year.
gone More than 1 year ago
The sport has been going south for years and let me make this clear to all that say Chrome shouldn't do this or shouldn't go here or there. We need owners like these that don't care about dodging tough races and shipping wherever, let alone baby the horse then send them to stud efore their prime. That does nothing for the sport except ruin it. We 're so used to watching how the rich play the game we forgot what's right.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Got an error message (500026).... re-posting. Please delete if duplicate. I think Chrome "sealed the deal" for both 3yo and HOY honors on Saturday. Main Sequence, the only other horse with 4 Grade 1s, all on turf, should easily get the Turf award; would like to see a dirt horse get the Older Male award. Untapable is the Three Year Old Filly. Other Eclipse awards not so clear cut. Looking forward to see what MW has to say. Overall, California Chrome was fun to follow this year, he energized fans, brought in new fans, and he has garnered attention across the country, not just in the West, which to me is a clear indication that he deserves to be honored both for his accomplishments ON and OFF THE TRACK!
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
I think Chrome "sealed the deal" for both 3yo and HOY honors on Saturday. Main Sequence, the only other horse with 4 Grade 1s, all on turf, should easily get the Turf award; would like to see a dirt horse get the Older Male award. Untapable is the Three Year Old Filly. Other Eclipse awards not so clear cut. Looking forward to see what MW has to say. Overall, California Chrome was fun to follow this year, he energized fans, brought in new fans, and he has garnered attention across the country, not just in the West, which to me is a clear indication that he deserves to be honored both for his accomplishments ON and OFF THE TRACK!
Donna Hjort More than 1 year ago
SO HAPPY FOR U AND THE CREW ART!! AWESOME JOB BY ALL OF U, ESPECIALLY "CHROME" :)
J Vette More than 1 year ago
If you want to totally ruin the horse, by all means send him to Dubai.... Would be a shame after Sherman says the sport needs STARS, then he sends him to Dubai....
Dmarie Mayers More than 1 year ago
Congratulations California Chrome! Love watching Americas favorite horse run! Keep Chrome running & living in the USA! No overseas for Chrome! He is Americas Horse, we love that boy!
Sandra Bush More than 1 year ago
Keep him home.. in this day anything can happen over there.... moneys not everything.
Charlotte von Buskirk More than 1 year ago
Im such a "chromie"
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Love it :)