03/20/2015 2:26PM

California Chrome to work once in Dubai


Alan Sherman, the son and main assistant of trainer Art Sherman, traveled with California Chrome to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, to Baltimore for the Preakness, and to Long Island, N.Y., for the Belmont Stakes. The three Triple Crown stops all have their particular charms and quirks. But none would have prepared him for his latest trip with the 2014 Horse of the Year – to Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“It’s different, I’ll say that,” Sherman said by phone Friday morning from Dubai.

But good news: California Chrome seems no different to Sherman.

He and 15 other American-based horses arrived in Dubai on Wednesday after a 19-hour journey, and California Chrome took the trip without issue.

“He seems to be good,” Sherman said. “He’s a good traveler, and he’s in good shape.”

California Chrome is one of two U.S.-based horses scheduled to start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup next Saturday at Meydan. Also slated for the big race is Lea, while Main Sequence and Mshawish will attempt to become the first U.S.-based horses to win one of the major World Cup turf races.

Main Sequence will be among the favorites in a star-studded field in the $6 million Sheema Classic, while Mshawish, from the Todd Pletcher barn, goes in the $6 million Dubai Turf, in which he finished fourth last year when trained by Mikel Delzangles. American interests have strong representation in the Golden Shaheen with Secret Circle, Salutos Amigos, and Big Macher.

The American horses still were locked down under a 48-hour quarantine Friday morning, but California Chrome made use of the small training track located within the quarantine facility and was to be released from quarantine before training hours Saturday.

“Today, we just jogged for about 10 minutes on the training track, which is only about an eighth of a mile around,” said Sherman. “He’ll gallop on the main track Saturday, and I’ll breeze him on Tuesday or Wednesday. We’ll just work him a half-mile, and if he goes in 49 [seconds], that will be fine.”

American horses dominated the World Cup when it was run on the dirt track at Nad Al Sheba, the major Dubai track that came down when Meydan went up, but since Meydan began hosting the World Cup, the only American to win the race was Animal Kindgom in 2013. During Meydan’s first five seasons, however, main-track races were run over an all-weather synthetic surface that has given way this year to a sand-based dirt track, and this year, horses with speed – like California Chrome – have prospered at Meydan.

Entries for all the stakes on the World Cup card will be taken Monday, with the final World Cup field and post positions announced Wednesday.