05/05/2014 2:58PM

Few to face California Chrome again in Preakness

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Tom Keyser
Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman, celebrates with jockey Victor Espinoza after California Chrome's win in the Kentucky Derby. Alan Sherman will stay with California Chrome while the colt is at Churchill Downs.

A total of 21 horses were entered in the Kentucky Derby, 19 ran, and of the 18 who chased home California Chrome on Saturday at Churchill Downs, it appears only a few will try him again in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, on May 17 at Pimlico.

As of Monday, there were more newcomers to the Triple Crown trail for the Preakness than there were Derby alumni. In addition to California Chrome, the only others coming out of the Derby still under consideration to run back in the Preakness were Danza (who was third) and Ride On Curlin (seventh), with only Ride On Curlin a certainty.

Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds said runner-up Commanding Curve would await the Belmont.

Others under consideration for the Preakness are Bayern, Dynamic Impact, Kid Cruz, Pablo Del Monte, Ring Weekend, and Social Inclusion.

::2014 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more

Untapable, the filly who won the Kentucky Oaks, will not compete. Trainer Steve Asmussen said it is “not in her best interest to run back in two weeks.”

California Chrome ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.66 and got a Beyer Speed Figure of 97, which would be the lowest winning figure in the Derby since Beyer first compiled them in 1989. But the number may end up better than that, with the difficulty of making a precise figure made challenging by the unusually long delay between the Turf Classic and the Derby. More than an hour passed between those races, and more than two hours passed between the Derby and the prior dirt race. The track was not watered after the walkover, so the surface likely was far drier for the Derby than any other main-track race on Saturday.

If that 97 figure holds, it would mean that eight of the first nine finishers all regressed off their prior race, with only runner-up Commanding Curve improving.

Regardless of the speed figure, California Chrome recorded his fifth straight victory, all since jockey Victor Espinoza took over as his rider. California Chrome made Art Sherman, at age 77, the oldest trainer to win the Derby.

“It’s pretty cool,” Sherman said. “You wake up in the morning and go, ‘I just won the Kentucky Derby.’ It’s a dream come true for me.”

California Chrome will remain at Churchill Downs until May 12, when he is scheduled to fly to Pimlico. For Derby Week, he occupied a stall in the barn of trainer Tom Proctor, who is a good friend of Sherman’s, and he will stay in Proctor’s barn until he heads to Pimlico.

Sherman said California Chrome would not work between races. He trained the colt lightly between the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby, believing it was the best way to keep him fresh for the task ahead. He believes the same approach is needed for the Preakness.

“I don’t have to do too much, just keep him happy and fresh,” Sherman said. “He just ran a mile and a quarter, and his next race is going to be a mile and three-sixteenths.”

Sherman said California Chrome would get a few days off before returning to the track for a jog on Wednesday. He would then have daily gallops from Thursday through the Preakness.

Sherman’s son and assistant trainer Alan is staying with California Chrome at Churchill Downs while Sherman returns to California to oversee his stable at Los Alamitos this week.

“Both kids have my back,” he said, referring to both Alan, who is based in Southern California, and another son, Steve, who oversees the Sherman barn in Northern California.

Sherman, who flew to California on Monday, said he would not rejoin California Chrome until the colt travels to Pimlico next week.

Just as he was unconcerned about California Chrome adapting to Churchill Downs, Sherman is similarly at ease regarding Pimlico.

“A good horse will run on anything,” he said. “He’s got the right demeanor. He’s not a nervous-type of horse who backs off his feed. He does everything right.”

Danza, trained by Todd Pletcher, is still possible for the Preakness, according to Aron Wellman, who heads the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners syndicate which owns Danza.

“Todd and I agreed to let the dust settle for right now,” Wellman said. “He’s had two very, very hard races in three weeks and the Derby was a very physical race. I don’t think we’re ruling anything out at this point.”

Danza, winner of the Arkansas Derby three weeks ago, was clobbered by Pletcher-trained Vinceremos first time through the lane. Wellman said the two-week turnaround for the Preakness wasn’t as a big a concern as the prospect of running three times in five weeks.

Billy Gowan, the trainer of Ride On Curlin, said the Preakness is a go, and that Joel Rosario would replace Calvin Borel in the saddle.

“Hopefully, he’ll listen to me,” Gowan said of Rosario. “Most of them don’t want to listen to you, they know best. If he listens to what I tell him, we’ll win the Preakness.”

Gowan said he told Borel to break good and get some position. “He was six lengths off the last horse in a half in 48,” Gowan said. “I wanted to throw up when they came by me the first time. I didn’t tell him to take a left-hand turn coming out of there.”

Gowan said Ride On Curlin likely would travel on the same flight that brings California Chrome to Baltimore.

Trainer Bob Baffert said that Chitu (ninth) would return to California. Baffert said that Hoppertunity, scratched from the Derby, needed further tests to determine what is nagging him, but is definitely out of the Preakness.

Baffert said that Bayern, disqualified from a win in the Derby Trial last time out, was his lone contender for the Preakness. He sizzled five furlongs in 58.20 at Churchill Downs on Monday.

– additional reporting by David Grening

Geral John Pinault 7 months ago
Everyone is knocking Cali Chrome. But they missed their chance to catch him at a price in THE DERBY! He'll be 3-5 in Baltimore. Social Inclusion will set all of the pace and Cali will run him down in the stretch to win going away. As for me I missed my shot as I bet a huge tri wheel bet with Cali Chrome on top and Ride on Curlin 2nd and 3rd with everything. The trainer Billy Cowan screwed up RIC's training, electing for show breeze workouts with a closing burst thru the lane. The track came up favoring speed. Then Borel rode the worst ride of his life. WHY? Because he fell for all of the pressures that the press were putting on him all week as to how fast could he get over to the rail?! From the 19 hole you want a straight run to the first turn, not a sharp left turn to the rail where RIC got caught behind slow horses. I got screwed, you got screwed, everybody got shafted. Now Cowan wants to put all of the blame on Borel. WRONG!!! YOU MESSED UP BILLY BIG TIME!!!
Phil Johnwell 7 months ago
Hmmmmm Big Brown..Smarty Jones...War Emblem and Barbaro was a special horse as well as AP Indy..Sunday Silence..The Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse race in the world.If a horse looses the Breeders Cup he can try again next year but you only get one shot at the Kentucky Derby..The goal is to win and not the time..Hats off to Victor for an outstanding ride...now let's win the Preekness.
turfwiz 7 months ago
Racing needs a superhorse, a hero. Past triple crown winners gave the public what they wanted and raced past their 3 year old campaign. California Chrome probably will do that given his lack of appeal in the breeding shed. However unless he improves dramatically he will get rudely awakened when matched against older horses.
Anonymous 7 months ago
TVG mentioned several races prior to the Derby that there was a strong head wind when horses were coming down the stretch. Could have been part of the slower time of the Derby along with Espinosa looking back and bringing CC to the finish without urging. Maybe there was no wind. Irregardless, the horse won and I'd like to see one of these horses win the TC, regardless. Been so close too many times, so hope CC can do it.
Ray Sousa 7 months ago
Last years derby at least gave us a few insight into what might occur in the Preakness. for example as impressive as ORB"S win was he basically went with flow of the race the closers all closed and the pace fell apart. The real insight was that the track had a significant closers bias that was further aggravated by a suicidal pace set by PALACE MALICE.so if one was looking to beat ORB one might take a closer look at who was close to the pace and was not disgraced at the finish. That horse was OXBOW who went on to win the preakness.PALACE MALICE and NORMANDY INVASION too could be expected to run better next time.PALACE came back to win the Belmont and after a lengthy vacation due to injury NORMANDY too won. But this year despite the trouble lines and the slow time of the race i have not yet found a niche. The winner looks absolutely solid. the track played fair CHROME was on the pace but 2nd place COMMANDING CURVE came from last.as for the trouble lines its hard to quantify how it would have affected the outcome. I cant really say that CANDY BOY would have hit the board if not for checking on the turn or that WICKED STRONG lost a position or two because of his trip. I feel pretty strongly that MEDAL COUNT would have been at least 3rd had his path not been taken away by a veering out DANZA.it seems to me MEDAL COUNT"S trouble came at the worst possible time as he had just changed leads and was staring to close between horses. That said i don't think any one was going by the winner who i don't think has any chinks in his armor.
Meydan Rocks 7 months ago
I'll say it again... The speed was AFRAID to go. If I'm an owner with a real speed horse, I'll fire the jockey who dares sacrifice my horse for the sake of making the punters happy! Screw that! ;-)
Hail No 7 months ago
One thing, too, that might have a bearing, also, is the Chief Steward, did give the jocks a talk to about the race, "Please run safely, for you and your fellow riders, and these magnificent horses" But that was cutoff after that. I wonder, with the black cloud of Peta, that maybe the "talking to" might have included, ride safely and don't push the horses unnecessarily?
George Pimentel 7 months ago
WRONG! I think is a good idea for people to criticize the Kentucky Derby race because it gives out information that people might have missed. Like I wasn't aware that Borel was stopped by another horse losing his chance to win or come in the money....You cannot just accept the winner as the best horse, you got to examine what went wrong with other horses and that helps your handicapping the Preakness. G-MON
Meydan Rocks 7 months ago
I agree with your assertion... even if he win's the triple.
Marc Strews 7 months ago
Well the hype of the derby has passed another year for a horse called California Chrome to try and be a triple crown winner. With all the naysayers and truth sayers that knocked CC win. He won but hey where was the real speed in this years derby. Very interesting I am not will never knock his win but I do feel this years derby was the weakest field in memories. So that being said we look to the Preakness in about less then two weeks with the hope of cc triple crown bid. With so much anticipated speed horses listed in the Preakness. I find it difficult to see cc win the Preakness factor being the bounce Theory all horsemen , handicappers and fans alike who follow racing knows that when a horse run three consecutive high speed figures and win each race the horses chances of running a sup bar race is high. Looking into that notion is the reason behind what I am going to say next in the derby the 6 furlong time was clocked at 1.11. and change a crawl and the final time of 2:03.66 was by far a crawling pace.Yes cc won and yes it may looked easy but who did he really faced in the derby.The second place horse commanding curve closed like a freight train going wide throughout and only lost by a length 1 3/4.Looking back in all cc races so far I found one race perplexing his san felipe win.All is races he was on or around the pacesetters at 45 and change my question to all handicappers is does cc need to have a clean brake to win his race and the second part to my question has he faced real speed if any?
Meydan Rocks 7 months ago
The speed was AFRAID to go. If I'm an owner with a real speed horse, I'll fire the jockey who dares sacrifice my horse for the sake of making the punters happy! Screw that! ;-)
Marc Strews 7 months ago
well
chris 7 months ago
if that were my horse i'd sleep in the barn
Meydan Rocks 7 months ago
Amen
Hail No 7 months ago
I'm sure his groom did..