05/24/2014 12:03PM

California Chrome handles wet Belmont track just fine

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Barbara D. Livingston
California Chrome, with Willie Delgado aboard, gallops over a wet surface at Belmont Park on Saturday morning.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Being based mostly in Southern California, California Chrome had rarely, if ever, seen a wet track. During his Triple Crown run, California Chrome has seen his share of them in Kentucky, Baltimore, and especially here in New York.

If you listen to his exercise rider, Willie Delgado, California Chrome didn’t appear to like it at Churchill Downs but floated over it at Pimlico. On Saturday, for the third straight morning, California Chrome galloped nearly two miles over a wet Belmont Park surface, and he seemed to handle it just fine.

“Churchill wasn’t his favorite track; he never actually felt comfortable on it,” Delgado said Saturday morning, two hours after galloping California Chrome over a sealed, sloppy main track. “Even at Pimlico, when we went out that one day and it was raining, he floated over it. Here especially, he’s really taken to this tack ... I don’t see him having any problem with a wet track here.”

So far, California Chrome hasn’t encountered any problems in his week since winning the Preakness at Pimlico, putting him one step away from winning the Triple Crown. He arrived here Tuesday, jogged over a dry surface Wednesday, and has since galloped close to two miles each morning in the mud.

When he gallops, California Chrome goes slowly, bordering on tentatively, for the first part. But then he gets more fluid, and for the last three to four furlongs of the gallop, he picks it up.

“He’ll hobby-horse the first mile and a quarter. Once he gets to the three-eighths pole or half-mile pole, he locks on,” Delgado said. “The first couple of days, he was looking around. Today, he knew exactly where that three-eighths pole was, and he was pulling me harder than usual.”

Both Delgado and Alan Sherman, the assistant and son of trainer Art Sherman, said the way California Chrome has come out of the Preakness is “scary.”

“It’s amazing, but I think he keeps getting stronger. He keeps bouncing out of these races so fast, it’s kind of scary,” Alan Sherman said. “He’s just doing so good. Right now, I got no concerns the way he’s training and feeling. Everything’s going perfect right now – knock on wood.”

Said Delgado: “For him to bounce [back] that quick and then be that strong after the Preakness, it was like ‘wow!’ I’m not surprised that he took to the track that quick, but it’s good. Like I said, Churchill wasn’t his best track, and we all saw what he did. If he didn’t like it and won ... if he likes this one ...”

The wet track Saturday forced Christophe Clement, the trainer of Tonalist, and Rick Violette, the trainer of Samraat, to postpone scheduled workouts.

Tonalist, the winner of the Peter Pan Stakes in the slop, galloped 1 1/8 miles and was on the track at the same time as California Chrome, just before 6 a.m.

Clement noted that Tonalist developed sore feet during the winter in Florida, and he has been cautious about training him over wet surfaces.

“He got sore in his feet with me in Florida. It’s not a big deal, just have to be careful,” Clement said. “He moved very well this morning. If I get the same track [Sunday], he will probably breeze on it. I just thought by giving it one more day, if I can get a better track, why not?”

Violette had intended to van Samraat over to Belmont from Aqueduct on Saturday but scrapped that plan due to the wet surface. He said he would revisit the situation Sunday but said he would breeze on whichever track – Aqueduct or Belmont – he deemed in better shape.

The connections of Ride On Curlin altered their training schedule Saturday due to the wet surface, according to assistant trainer Bridget Lambert. Instead of galloping two miles as scheduled, Ride On Curlin galloped a mile.

Lambert said Ride On Curlin likely would gallop two miles Sunday and potentially have a workout midweek. Trainer Billy Gowan is expected to arrive Monday.

Among those expected to join Tonalist and Samraat on the work tab Sunday were Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong and the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Commissioner and Intense Holiday.

Candy Boy breezes

Candy Boy, a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Santa Anita on Saturday. Trainer John Sadler said he timed the colt in 59.80 seconds.

Sadler said a decision on Candy Boy’s status for the Belmont Stakes on June 7 will be made Monday or Tuesday.

“I’m keeping an open mind, looking to follow everything that’s going on,” he said. “I want to talk to the owner.”

Owned by Lee and Susan Searing, Candy Boy has won 2 of 8 starts and earned $425,600.

Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
CC is going to stimulate the economy in New York..People love to be apart of history and with smart phones being able to video and take snap shots there will be people from all over so it's a good thing and Art Shermans story is storybook. Racing is due for a Triple Crow Winner..
tim More than 1 year ago
Cal chrome may not even go off favored. Tonalist might. The way they talk up Peter Pan winners is funny.
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Funny how? Ha Ha or not credible?
Bbrizz More than 1 year ago
California Chrome will most certainly be favored. I'm thinking 1/9.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
California Chrome is a Horse and had nothing to do with these man made rules and man makes these rules so he can profit....No other reason..So if the connections spraypaint him pink and he wins the Belmont you would be saying that he only won because he was pink..
Jason More than 1 year ago
ASTERISK!!!!!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Did this article mention Bonds, McGuire, et al? HANK!!! :)
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Put one behind your name..Man made rules..CC is a horse and had nothing to say about these manmade rules..They can spraypaint him and he has nothing to do with that....There' sense and there's good sense..Your coments are toward an animal..stupid !
PioneerNile More than 1 year ago
He's just trolling along....
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
I'm just enjoying the ride with California Chrome. Without an exception, each trainer has some issue they are dealing with, albeit most are no worse than the weather. Still, you have to wonder why they don't train in whatever the weather is, because they are going to have to run in whatever weather there is. CC just goes out, drags his rider around for his two-mile jog, skips over the surface whether its wet or dry....ignores other livestock on the track, seems to be having a high old time posing to get his picture taken. His handlers are in awe of him....he's gained weight, he wakes everyone up whinnying and trumpeting, demanding to have human contact (which he apparently got used to as a foal confined with his recovering dam). This whole process seems like a lark to him, no worries. Hope things stay that way...his connections are all refreshing, the horse has personality plus, songs are being written about him, and already he has nearly 70,000 Facebook fans! Win or lose, the ride has been a hoot, he has given us the feel-good story of the year, at a time when the sport sorely needed it. We all want to see that three-sided Triple Crown trophy, but, honestly, that will be the cherry on top of the sundae, because no matter how this turns out, when this horse showed up. he brought the happy pills with him. Every time I look at him, or see his delightful trainer, or see Steve Coburn kiss and hug his horse, or watch Victor enjoying himself, I just smile and I feel good, too! Life is good! Thank you, Junior!
Hail No More than 1 year ago
I nominate this post for the "feel good story" Eclipse. Nice :-)
Jason More than 1 year ago
Wow prozac really works.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
Songs are being written about him? I hope you mean an actual original song rather than that ripoff of California Girls, where the "author" had the nerve to put a © symbol. That one was pretty terrible. A good original song would be nice, though. As for Chrome bringing the "happy pills" with him "no matter how this turns out"... um, not so much. If he wins the Belmont, all well and good. If he loses, though, a large percentage of his current fanbase will vanish.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
That was a little funny, trying to "copyright" a variation of an already copyrighted song and lyrics, but, I doubt even if Chromeo (just for you) loses, that he'll lose much his fan base.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
much of
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
Plenty of people are interested just in a TC winner. If they don't get that, they're the ones who will mostly bail. I saw it happen with I'll Have Another, Smarty Jones, and so many others. Same pattern every time.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
I hear you, Ghost, did you read or see the coverage for Smarty's retirement at the Pha? The comparison with Smarty and IHA might not be the best example, as sadly, IHA never made it to the gate, that was very disheartening.
M More than 1 year ago
california chrome will win the Belmont and I will be there. flying up from FL to see history. I was at Smarty Jones and Real Quiet. I hope he gets the job done. Great story too.
Jason More than 1 year ago
Maybe you should stay home you MUSH.
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Or Looney............right?
tim More than 1 year ago
Stay in Florida and don't jinx this.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Some trainers put horses in the race and they know that the horse has no chance..The filly in the Preekness had no business in the race..She was 6th against other fillies in the Oaks.They do this to try an compremise the speed knowing that the horse has no chance.She proved it by coming in dead last ! There will be a horse in the Belmont that has no chance but is in the race to try an duel with CC..
Jason More than 1 year ago
Wow you should have your own article. Not.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
Plenty of Belmont winners in recent years haven't appeared to have much of a chance--how about 70-1 Sarava, for instance? Anyway, if some of the other horses are no good, Chrome should be able to beat them without much trouble, right? That is, if he's good enough. So far he has been.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Anything can happen in a horse race..Pete you are right about that..Nobody was talking about this horse before the Derby..I had a future bet on him in january..I didn't come to this dance late..There's only 1 horse in the world that has a shot at winning the Triple Crown California Chrome..Why would I not want to see this horse Win ?
Mike Rozier More than 1 year ago
You're right. The 5/2 favorite in the Derby wasn't getting talked about by anybody. Do everybody a favor, and quit trolling this entire site.
Jason More than 1 year ago
You probably bet twenty futures be honest.
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Who cares..look at what you'll have to fade now............4/5?
Peter More than 1 year ago
The heart of the horse is within, the brains of the horse are that of the jockey. Chrome will win the Belmont based on this winning combination. Phoenix Pete
Josephine Ellen Ripley More than 1 year ago
I have a feeling we may be seeing another "tremendous machine" at the Belmont Stakes...this time he has 4 white feet and a blaze!!! Because CC's parents weren't much ado at the track, he was automatically dismissed by the experts. CC's parents will be so proud when he wins the TC. GO JUNIOR!!!
Jason More than 1 year ago
Who is goung to tell them?
Beth Rudnicki More than 1 year ago
chicken joe triple crown winner coda chrome paul simon