10/11/2014 2:13PM

California Chrome shows signs of progress

Tom Keyser
Trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza say they feel California Chrome is headed in the right direction for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic three weeks away at Santa Anita.

CYPRESS, Calif. – California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby winner, continued his encouraging training regimen on Saturday when he worked five furlongs here at Los Alamitos in 59.60 seconds, a drill that had both trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza believing he was headed in the right direction for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic three weeks away at Santa Anita.

Saturday’s work was the second for California Chrome since his sixth-place comeback effort in the Pennsylvania Derby last month at Parx. He worked a half-mile last Saturday, and went farther this time as the Classic draws closer.

California Chrome came on the track shortly after 8 a.m., right after the mid-morning renovation break. It was a cool, overcast morning at Los Alamitos, and California Chrome was feeling frisky, nipping at the pony that accompanied him prior to his workout.

“He knows when Victor’s on him he’s gonna go,” Sherman said. “He’s getting after that pony.”

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After turning down the backstretch following a warm-up gallop, California Chrome broke away from the pony and began his solo work in earnest shortly before the five-furlong pole. He went off sensibly, an opening furlong timed in 13 seconds by Alan Sherman – Art’s son and assistant trainer -–but picked up steam rounding the far turn.

He was cruising through the lane, looking like he wanted some company to challenge him, but still polished off the drill in terrific time and went out an additional furlong to be up six furlongs in 1:13.20.

“He looks like he’s not even going,” Art Sherman said after the work. “He really looked smooth and easy. He was just galloping.”

Sherman said he had noticed California Chrome being far more attentive to his training since the Pennsylvania Derby.

“He’s really been on his toes,” Sherman said. “He’s been acting pretty strong. That race picked his head up.”

Espinoza agreed, saying California Chrome “hadn’t worked like that in a very long time.”

“He barely felt like he was hitting the ground,” Espinoza said. “So nice and smooth. He’s working like he did before, in the spring. I’ve been really impressed since the race. If he continues like that all the way to the Breeders’ Cup, he’s going to be tough.”

The Classic is shaping up as a showdown for the male 3-year-old title, and perhaps Horse of the Year, with the likes of Shared Belief, Bayern, and Tonalist all among the prospective field.

California Chrome will remain at Los Alamitos for his serious training, with works scheduled each of the next two Saturdays. Sherman said California Chrome would go over to Santa Anita the week of the Classic to reacquaint himself with the surroundings, including schooling at the gate and the paddock.

“I just want to get him used to the surroundings again,” Sherman said. “He’s been there. He knows Santa Anita.”

Earlier this year, California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby as his final prep before victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

David More than 1 year ago
a fresh horse ,,, like Tonalist in the Belmont,,,,no excuse for the owners?
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
mike More than 1 year ago
Let's see what you say in a few weeks.
Jeff Wilson More than 1 year ago
Totally agree
anna villafane More than 1 year ago
Tonalist is the best 3 year old around at this time of the year period. My only concern is that he may not hanldle Santa Anita as well as he handles Big Sandy. So I'm looking for an upset in The Classic.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Interesting opinion. I respectfully disagree. But, let me get this right.....you would blame the surface of where the race is run on Tonalist getting beat? I've always been fascinated by people who blame the racing surface when their horse gets outrun. Truth is the Classic will be awesome to watch....we will all enjoy. And yes, hopefully the best horse will win...which we all know sometimes doesn't happen. But, if all get a clean trip, I do believe the best horse will win....and his name won't start with a T.
B More than 1 year ago
Not sure he's the best three year old, but he is certainly among the best four in the country and if he wins the Classic, three year old honors and HOY are his, but the same can be said for Shared Belief and California Chrome and maybe Bayern. He loves the distance, but he does have to prove he is as good on other tracks as he is on Belmont's surface.
L. More than 1 year ago
He's far from the best 3yo. He can't win outside Belmont or unless things go right for him. I don't see him hitting the board in the Classic.
mike More than 1 year ago
He is not the best 3 yr old.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
as long as Tonalist is around he will always be 3rd or 4th, especially now because everyone knows that all they have to do is keep him in the box on the last turn and he cant stand the dirt in his face!
Steve Wilson More than 1 year ago
As well as the fact that it now seems obvious that he relishes Belmont Park, with wins in the Peter Pan, Belmont, and JCGC. Take those wins away from him and do we even have a reason to think seriously about him?
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
you cant take them away so dream on!
L. More than 1 year ago
All Tonalist has to do is show up outside Belmont, that pretty much says he doesn't win. So can't say CC will be 3rd or 4th to that.
mike More than 1 year ago
Yeah,I bet!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
hi dufuss, ready for a good smack? lol
mike More than 1 year ago
Would really love to see you try,tough guy. First you would have to stop hiding behind your mom's skirt.
mike More than 1 year ago
Bring it!
Robert Clayton More than 1 year ago
Nobody could ever accuse Art Sherman of not being loyal.......How is it possible that Espin-headoza is still on this horse?
Big Rob stud More than 1 year ago
Jeff Wilson More than 1 year ago
Bad ride after bad ride
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
powered home and left them like a group of cheap claimers. Yes, he missed some of the big dances this year and he is being treated right by his owners. His Pacific Classic was gorgeous, he danced on his toes for 10 furlongs. His Awesome Again was his most impressive effort as a race horse. It may not have been as pretty but he really was up against it. He ran 4 - 5 wide the entire trip. He hopped on the pace early, backed off, came again on the turn and I believe he won without emptying the tank. I think he's the real deal, and the best is yet to come.
TomPHickey More than 1 year ago
I think he may well be the best. The carried wide the whole time and won thing is getting a lot of play. LOTS of horses get carried wide the whole race like this and win, without getting so much credit. Usually it happens due to an outside post and a larger field. This is getting press because of the bad ride from VE. Yes he was clearly the best and beat a field of primarily Grade II and lower horses. He was supposed to win this race. The wide trip just make it closer. Chrome for example, ran the whole Derby 1 1/4 miles in the three path. How much farther did he run than everyone else? Same with the Preakness, IIR. It's just part of racing.
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
True enough - but that's more the way cheap claimers win as opposed to stakes horses. VE rode SB rather than trying to win. Yes, CC ran a long way in the Derby and perhaps the slow time reflects the ground lost. I am a big fan of CC. It was so exciting to see him come to hand, (I am in SF) to see a Cal Bred from modest stock take down the blue bloods was awesome. I hope he wins the classic, if he gets up to 5-1 that's where my money will go. But in terms of sheer talent and most likely winner - it's Shared Belief by open lengths. Aside from the other 3 year olds this is a hard knocking group of Grade II sort of horses. Moreno, Majestic Harbor and Zivo all have one excellent effort this year and they all lack consistency and none of them are candidates for HOY.
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
Hey Tommy - Thanks for the note and for taking time to share vo2 theory with all of us. Here are the weight conditions for the BC Classic. You do make a good point in that toting weight can be demanding over a long distance: "4-year-olds and up: 126 lb (57.2 kg); Northern Hemisphere 3-year-olds: 122 lb (55 kg); Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds: 117 lb (53 kg); fillies and mares allowed 3 pounds." Shared Belief will carry 122 as will California Chrome. Here's what I think of Shared Belief: This is one of the most spectacularly talented horses we have seen in many years. There is a reason he won the Eclipse for best 2 year old last year. His win in the Cash Call Futurity was jaw dropping - he sat off like and
tommy More than 1 year ago
Eric, I hate that people think shared belief is a good horse when they are not educated in the exercise field. Shared belief is not even close to being a grade 1 horse and I will explain to you why. Shared belief has a low vo2 max and low lactate threshold. Without do an actually stress test or vo2 max testing which I'm an expert in, I can make an educated estimate based on distance, racing time, and weight. Also ran with less weight and has equal racing times to horses that ran with 8 pounds more for the same given distance and track surface. Shared belief with 118 lbs destroyed the field and the. When they put him to 121 lbs he beat fed biz by neck. Now you look at California chrome who won the kentucky derby with 126 lbs and tonalist who won the Belmont stakes with 126 lbs at a mile and a half gives him far more superior vo2 max than shared belief. Now what happens when they give all the horses equal weight, shared belief will lose. They only way I will bet shared belief to win is if he runs with 118 lbs and they give everyone else 126 lbs. but most likely everyone will run with equal weight and shared belief will definitely be out of the exacta which I will cash in. I will only put shared belief and Bayern 4th because they have low vo2 max
mike More than 1 year ago
Wow! Only wonder how hard you would slam him if he had lost a race or two.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Tommy, I give up. I've decided I like you very much. I wish you the best. I respectfully disagree with you, but that's why pari-mutuel wagering works. Sincerely, good luck to you.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Lol frank , I just hope you don't waste too much money on shared belief because he will lose. My advise is don't put all your money on one horse. This race is even difficult for me to predict as an exercise physiologist so I'm going box the 5 horses in exacta that have the highest vo2 max and lactate threshold which are tonalist, California chrome, Moreno, zivo, majestic harbor
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
You have all these theories about Vo2 but you equate the 11/2 Belmont vs. other races at shorter distances.Also at age 3 these horses are all still maturing.Some like Tiznow are late bloomers..Also the blood is only part of the equation.Will,desire,soundness,ability,trip,pace,jockey decisions,post position are other factors.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
What is vo2max ? Tommy, can you please explain .............
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Weight for age out the window.
Big Rob stud More than 1 year ago
What are u talking about. That was the single most ridiculous post in the history of this forum. I happen to agree that Shared Belief may be over rated as he has picked spots very carefully and close to home without a ton of top class competition. Factor in he will be 9/5 and he is a toss for me. But that nonsense you wrote gave me a headache.
Magnum More than 1 year ago
The critics are going to come out and say CC is overrated just like the they did leading up to the KY derby. I'm sure these are also the same critics that bet wicked strong in the derby. I'll take 6-1 all day on CC in the BC classic.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
That's silly. Who said he was over rated in the Derby? He was the favorite and much the best that day. I'm just happy the best horse won the Derby this year. However, by the Belmont he wasn't the best 3 year old in training. It's not being critical. It's just a fair honest and proven true assessment.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Chrome was more than just the favorite for the Derby, he was the biggest favorite over the field in 13 year or more. You Chromies are so sensitive. Seems to me he was quite loved at the window. But you guys pout if just one person says they don't like him.
Jeff Wilson More than 1 year ago
They follow the lead of the owner
Alex More than 1 year ago
His jockey will be his undoing. But he will be bet hard in the Cup of the Breeders so Im glad he is still running.
Colin Dopson More than 1 year ago
Why should VE his jockey be his undoing? He wasn’t his undoing in the KD or in the P/ness. His pedigree and short time turnover was his undoing in the B/mont. His long layoff and a half-ready horse led to a poor showing at Parx. Now we’ll see a real race in the Classic. Even table for all 3 y.o. Tonalist, Bayern, CC (5 in .59.6), Shared B (5 in 1:00.6). Great race shaping up.