05/10/2014 8:18AM

Chrome report: Splashing through the slop

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Neither rain nor mud nor a slightly altered schedule could keep Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome from his appointed rounds early Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Heavy overnight rain that lasted into the morning hours led assistant trainer Alan Sherman to send California Chrome out for a routine gallop shortly before 6:30 a.m. Eastern, about a half-hour earlier than usual. Under regular exercise rider Willie Delgado, the colt had no mishaps when spending about 15 minutes on a sloppy, sealed racetrack.

“I didn’t want to take any chances of him having to go over a chewed-up track,” said Sherman, who is deputizing here for his father, trainer Art Sherman, before the colt leaves Monday for Baltimore and the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the 139th Preakness on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. “He’s tolerable of any surface. He went over it just fine. He pretty much takes his racetrack with him.”

Sherman said California Chrome also will gallop Sunday and Monday before being vanned to Lexington, Ky., for an equine charter scheduled to depart around noon Monday. Art Sherman has said the colt will not have a breeze upon resuming training at Pimlico.

California Chrome is expected to be an odds-on favorite among a prospective field of 10 in the Preakness. Last Saturday, the chestnut colt prevailed as a 5-2 favorite to become the first California-bred since 1962 to win the Derby and the only horse to keep alive hope at becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.