05/14/2014 9:47AM

Chrome report: Sherman supervises gallop


BALTIMORE - On a cool, cloudy, damp morning - totally unlike Tuesday here - Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome had a leisurely 1 1/2-mile gallop shortly before 7 a.m. on Wednesday over Pimlico’s main track.

With exercise rider Willie Delgado up, California Chrome jogged back to the five-eighths pole where he stood briefly before breaking off into a slow gallop, looking around at the photographers near the gap as he came through the stretch the first time. He continued at a slow pace before picking it up entering the far turn and kept an 18- to 19-second eighth of a mile pace through the lane and around the clubhouse turn.

Wednesday morning was the first time trainer Art Sherman saw California Chrome train since the Kentucky Derby.

“I thought it was a good gallop,” Sherman told the media around 7:30. “He looked around quite a bit the first time around, like he usually does. He’s  a very inquisitive horse. Then he took hold of the bit and was going pretty good the next time around, which that’s his style, the way he gallops every day.”

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Asked how California Chrome got over this track compared to Churchill Downs, Sherman said: “He looked like he handled it really well. It’s got a nice cushion, this track. It reminds me of the days when I rode back East. I always liked that kind of dirt; it’s different than the synthetic tracks. He’s run on four different tracks already. I don’t think he has to take the racetrack with him when he performs.”

Though Sherman is not keen on running California Chrome back on two weeks’ rest, he is happy with the way California Chrome looks physically, estimating he has put on 35 pounds since the Derby.

“It always bothers me coming back in two weeks, like I think most trainers,” Sherman said. “It takes a horse a good 10 days to really bounce out of a race good. He’s holding his weight; that’s a big factor. He’s eating good, he finished every oat last night, and he seems to be thriving on this type of training, so I’m sure not changing anything. Let’s go for it.”

California Chrome is expected to face nine horses when entries are taken later Wednesday morning. Post positions will be drawn Wednesday evening. He faced 18 horses in the Kentucky Derby.

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“It’s always easier when you got less horses, you got less traffic,” Sherman said. “There are three speed horses in here. He likes that target to run at, so I really think with good racing luck he should be in a position where he’ll be in the clear.”

Asked in general how he was feeling about the Preakness, Sherman said, “I wouldn’t want to be in anybody else’s shoes right now, I’ll tell you that.”