04/03/2015 12:20PM

California Chrome set on ambitious path

Barbara D. Livingston
California Chrome may not be back in California any time soon, according to trainer Art Sherman.

ARCADIA, Calif. – California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year, may have a 2015 campaign that more closely resembles that of a Formula 1 car than a top-class Thoroughbred racehorse.

On Thursday, trainer Art Sherman said California Chrome is likely to have two starts in England in the coming months – the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 16 and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17.

Later in the year, majority owner Perry Martin has mentioned foreign races such as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 4 and the Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 29 as long-term possibilities. That could be subject to change, pending results in England, Sherman said.

“I don’t think we’ll see this horse back here in California,” Sherman said between races at Santa Anita. “They’re talking about so many races. The horse will have to be a super horse to do what he wants.”

California Chrome has run twice this year, finishing second to Shared Belief in the $590,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 7 and second to Prince Bishop in the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on March 28.

The decision to send California Chrome to England was made after the Dubai World Cup by Martin, who owns a 70 percent share of the colt. Steve Coburn owns the remaining 30 percent. Martin did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

California Chrome has been sent to trainer Rae Guest’s stable at Newmarket, England, where he will be based in the coming months, according to Adrian Beaumont of the Newmarket-based International Racing Bureau, which is working with Martin and Sherman during California Chrome’s time in England.

In an e-mail Friday, Beaumont said California Chrome might begin training in Newmarket “at the end of next week.”

Sherman said he plans to travel to England to watch California Chrome race and that his son Alan, who works as an assistant trainer, is likely to go to England in the coming weeks to observe the 4-year-old colt’s development.

“We’re supposed to go when he runs,” Art Sherman said. “Alan will go over and see the horse. I told them to call me if there are any problems or something is not going good. It will be different. It’s my first time doing something like this.”

The same goes for California Chrome. The Lockinge is run on a straightaway mile, while the Prince of Wales’s is run on an undulating right-handed course at Ascot with a dip on the backstretch and a rise in the final furlong.

“They’ve got to teach him to [run] the wrong way,” Sherman said of the race direction at Ascot. “It will be a whole different ballgame. I hope the horse runs good.”

In the last five years, the Lockinge and Prince of Wales’s have been run on surfaces listed as “good” or “good to firm.”

A California-bred, California Chrome has run once on turf, winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar last November. California Chrome has won 9 of 18 starts and earned $6,322,650. He shot to fame and essentially clinched the Horse of the Year title with three consecutive Grade 1 wins last spring in the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes.