05/23/2014 1:43PM

California Chrome keeps a cool head


California Chrome hasn’t had too many things in his path this year as he’s rolled to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, putting him one step away from a Triple Crown sweep going into the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

Sure, he had to outrun 18 horses in the Derby and nine rivals in the Preakness, but he handled both tasks with aplomb. Worries over a tiny throat blister before the Preakness and concerns as to whether he’d be permitted to use a nasal strip in the Belmont proved to be unfounded.

California Chrome’s equanimity served him well Friday at Belmont Park, where an opossum dashed across the track while he was out for his routine gallop. He didn’t even flinch. Apparently, encountering wildlife is part of his routine, even back home at Los Alamitos.

“We got coyotes running on the track at Los Al sometimes,” said assistant trainer Alan Sherman.

California Chrome galloped about 1 3/4 miles Friday under regular exercise rider Willie Delgado. The track still had some moisture in it from rain earlier in the week, which had left the track sloppy for California Chrome’s first gallop over the track Thursday.

“He galloped good,” Sherman said after Friday’s gallop. “The track was a little bit heavier than yesterday. He seemed to get over it fine.”

Alan Sherman is overseeing California Chrome’s training while his father, Art, attends to the rest of their runners at Los Alamitos. Alan Sherman made his comments at a daily morning press briefing.

California Chrome will have a similar training schedule through May 31, when he is slated to work a half-mile, his lone workout between the Preakness and Belmont.

As of Friday, there were still 11 horses in various stages of commitment toward challenging California Chrome in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, the last and longest of the Triple Crown races. The potential field was reduced by one Friday when Ring Weekend, who had been considered no more than a possibility for the Belmont after finishing fifth in the Preakness, officially dropped out.

“I don’t see any need to come back in three weeks and run him a mile and a half,” said trainer Graham Motion. “We’ve got lots of options – grass options, dirt options.”

Ring Weekend is owned by a partnership that includes West Point Thoroughbreds, which also is a co-owner of Commanding Curve, who sat out the Preakness after finishing second in the Derby and is an expected starter in the Belmont. On Friday at Churchill Downs, Commanding Curve was timed by Churchill clocker John Nichols working five furlongs on a fast track in 59.80 seconds for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Exercise rider Emerson Chavez was aboard Commanding Curve, who worked outside of his older stablemate Perfect Title. Stewart said the work was designed to go past the wire. He caught the pair going six furlongs in 1:13.40.

“I thought it was perfect, whatever it was,” Stewart said.

The work was the second for Commanding Curve since he rallied to finish 1 3/4 lengths behind California Chrome as a 37-1 shot in the Derby. Stewart said Commanding Curve would be flown by equine charter to New York next Thursday and will have one work over the Belmont Park surface prior to the Belmont Stakes.

At Pimlico, Social Inclusion went back to the track Friday for the first time since finishing third in the Preakness, jogging a half-mile and galloping 1 1/8 miles, according to owner Ron Sanchez.

“He was happy to be back on the track,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said Social Inclusion remains “50-50” for the Belmont. He said Social Inclusion also will be nominated to the Woody Stephens, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, and the Metropolitan Handicap, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, both run on the same day as the Belmont Stakes.

Sanchez said he wants to talk with New York Racing Association stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes to get an idea of the composition of the fields for the Woody Stephens and Met Mile. The Met Mile is expected to include Palace Malice and Goldencents.

“We’re going to wait until next week to make a decision,” Sanchez said.

Social Inclusion is expected to van from Pimlico to Belmont on Sunday.

– additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee

William More than 1 year ago
With only a Fairgrounds MdSpWt victory and a subsequent 3rd place finish, can someone explain to me how Commanding Curve was allowed to enter the Derby Starting Gate and Bayern was not?
mike More than 1 year ago
Don't forget Ride On Curlin, He has no quit in him. Might come down to a head bob.
thomas feeney More than 1 year ago
Horse racing needs a star! I am rooting for CC! He isn't a Baffert or Lukas etc.. BS. Broadway wants a Marquee Headliner. So do I.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
With the decision of where Social Inclusion should race next, stay with 3 yos Mr. Sanchez. To race against older in the Met Mile would be a big mistake and I am a fan of SI. Enough already going against older right now you already know of 2 horses you cant beat PM and GC. Long slow gallops and send him in the Belmont......................
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Hmmm most horse racing fans are looking foward to the Belmont but you have some bitter folks wanting CC to lose ? Who goes to the track hoping to see a horse loose..His pick is out of the Belmont so he chooses his second choice to win by 5..After seeing the Derby and the Peekness what's there not to like about this Horse ?
Cat Newsome More than 1 year ago
iwant him to win
thomas feeney More than 1 year ago
He was a legit fav in the Derby. My horse finished 2nd. You don't need slots! We need a star!
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous hit the nail on the head, I totally agree W/his comment, need say no more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes people can't see greatness when it is in front of their eyes. I believe that is the case of CC, that won 6 stakes without any sign of fatigue, and the last two races are part of three of the hardest races for 3yo, in the land. His trainer, assistant and daily rider declare that CC feels great and is dragging them around, so strong he is. All competition has been beat, except two, or three newcomers without credentials. Two horses tried to close on CC in the KD and in the PS, in vain, even after Espinoza had already eased CC. In my account, CC will gallop gate to wire with a speed burst in the final furlong putting 3 lengths between him and the rest of the field, at the finish line. And still, the naysayers will come up with excuses for other horses not being able to spoil CC triple crowning.
Charles Vitale More than 1 year ago
Now that my pick of Danza is out, my second pick will win this race even easier. COMMANDING CURVE will win this race by 5 Lengths. After running my computer program from the Derby - Curve coming from post 16 would have won this race coming from any post under 7 by 3 lengths. So how can he (Curve) now win by 5 lengths if they come out of a side by side post? Rest – This is manly why there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner with a chance in the last 12 years (2 out of 3). Many of you know me by the name of Charliedogs. I have picked more Belmont winners using this program system. Here are the spilt times for Commanding Curve from the Derby. 25.3 – 22.3 – 24.3 – 24.2 – 26.2 – take a look at this second fraction (22.3) and he finished 2nd! Chrome ran 24.1 – this was a 10 length lead he had on Commanding Curve until 6F. Curve close that down to 5 lengths at the 1m. by now most horse had tired and he was getting bounds around in the stretch as where Chrome was clear. This will not happen in the Belmont, the field will be half to less the size of the Derby, leaving Curve to sit right behind him at the 1/8 pole only to take the lead and draw away on a tired Chrome.
Chris More than 1 year ago
I would be surprised if commcurve hits the board here,IMO. rideoncurlin and wicked strong ..underneath in the exacta. the fastest horse in the race is calif. chrome .
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Whew$ ! ! !, that was a mouth full, I got exhausted reading whatever you were trying to say. California Chrome by 4 easy lengths and I seriously doubt Commanding Curve will hit the board, but then again it is your money, carry on........
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
I wonder how much time you spent with your CC vs. CC in the running of the Derby when all you had to see is the Derby winner being geared down.....but thanks anyway.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Commanding Curve already ran the race of his life..Mine that Bird won the Dery but never won another race..Oh commanding Curve didn't win and won't hit the board,
Sam Sung More than 1 year ago
Curve is garbage, won't hit the board.
Robin Shaver-LaBarge More than 1 year ago
Thanks Charliedogs. While I can appreciate the stats side of all. I also believe in looking at how they actually are personality wise along with how they are trained and ridden.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
In lieu of a potential triple crown bid, I watched the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness on Youtube. Spectacular bid raced against only FOUR rivals in that race? JESUS!! BUT, like Chrome, he was put in a SUSTAINED DRIVE… but in The Bid's race he was put in a drive on the FAR SIDE of the track! He was SO wide I can only guess that Ronnie Franklin and Bud Delp were deathly afraid of being trapped but the other horses. The 79 Derby had so few horses in it (as compared to the 20 horse field in current Kentucky derby raced), I could have sworn it was one of today's Preakness races.
Dennis Fisher More than 1 year ago
Well said Meydan Rocks, about the Kentucky Derby in 1979, concerning that Spectacular Bid raced against 4 arrivals? JESUS, WHAT CAUGHT MY EYE was the mere fact of JESUS, did you not hear and read THE GOOD NEWS that Lord JESUS won the Triple Crown nearly 2,000 years ago, after becoming the official blood sacrifice for all mankind, what a winner ha!HA!ha! JOKE JOKE but a true fact to digest!
emma More than 1 year ago
los caballo de carrera nacen nose acen.californiqa ganara por mas 12 cuerpo aqui no al competidore sera coronado tres vese campeon quieran ono es el mejor caballo de esta decada recuenden 12 enla mano de victor.
Julie Caracci More than 1 year ago
English please . . . .
Maynard More than 1 year ago
Emma wrote: "Racehorses are born not made. California Chrome will win by more than twelve lengths here not at the competidore (?) Competir means to compete but I do not know what "competidore" means. He will be crowned three times champion (He will win the Triple Crown.) He is the best horse of this decade. Remember, 12 (lengths) in Victor's hands."
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Hail No More than 1 year ago
the racehorse born acen.californiqa donot win here for more body 12 competidore not to be crowned champion three vese want ono is the best horse in this decade recuenden 12 inthe hand victor
Hail No More than 1 year ago
sorry, that was a translate via google, thx MRocks :-)