07/10/2014 2:40PM

Hovdey: California Chrome up for some down time

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Barbara D. Livingston
California Chrome has had some R & R since his Belmont loss, but is due to return to training in the near future.

Art Sherman leaned down and braced himself against the right front leg of California Chrome, lifted the colt’s foot, and peeled off the white bell boot protecting the hoof. California Chrome shifted his weight.

“Easy boy,” Sherman said.

California Chrome complied and allowed Sherman to take a good look at the back of the foot. The trainer ran his thumb over a barely visible scar line just above the coronet band.

“It’s gone,” Sherman said. “You can’t hardly see it at all.”

It had been 32 days since California Chrome had gotten that right front foot tangled with the hooves of longshot Matterhorn at the start of the Belmont Stakes, and now here he was, in one of the roomy, tree-shaded grass paddocks reserved for the stallions at Harris Farms in California’s drought-stricken Central Valley. His copper coat was flecked with dirt and he was working on a mouthful of carrot, courtesy of farm manager Dave McGlothlin at the shank.

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“He was clean when we turned him out, but he loves to roll – over there, and there,” McGlothlin said, pointing to a couple of well-worn spots along the paddock fence. “He’s enjoying it so much now it’s getting harder to catch him unless you bring some bait.”

Isolated as an island of Thoroughbreds in a vast countryside of beef cattle and agriculture, Harris Farms still is a linchpin of the California breeding business and home to such stallions as Unusual Heat, the California leader, and Lucky Pulpit, sire of California Chrome, who was born at Harris Farms. Among its residents is Love the Chase, the dam of California Chrome, along with her yearling and weanling fillies.

Sherman gently lowered California Chrome’s foot and backed away to enjoy the view. California Chrome had been at Harris Farms since June 19 for some R&R after the rigors of the Triple Crown campaign, and Sherman had not seen him since.

“I’m really pleased about the way that cut’s healed,” Sherman said. “I pushed on it a little and got nothing from him at all.”

The cut was one of several things that did not go well for California Chrome in the Belmont, depriving him of making history as the 12th winner of the Triple Crown for owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn. The start was rough, the trip was cramped down the backstretch and wide on the turn, but at the end of the 1 1/2 miles the cold fact remained that three horses ran faster.

Sherman took a deep breath after the Belmont and decided the Triple Crown was not meant to be. He would have to settle for his colt winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. At 77, the trainer could live with that.

“Looking back, there were a bunch of little things not going quite right that might have added up,” Sherman said. “One thing everybody noticed was that he wasn’t acting the same in the paddock in New York as he did before the Derby and the Preakness.”

Let the tittering begin. Horses, as everyone must know by now, compete without pants. This means that a stallion may, on occasion, forget he is in full public view and indulge himself with an erection, which leads to no end of lame cracks and snickers, from horsemen and fans alike. California Chrome was on display before going postward at the Derby and again at the Preakness.

“Bob Baffert said something to me watching him at Pimlico,” Sherman said. “I told him, ‘Bob, before you say anything else you should know I’m wearing a microphone from NBC.’ ”

Whether or not California Chrome’s prerace studdishness had anything to do with his impressive victories in Louisville and Baltimore is unknown. They test for TCO2, not blood flow.

In the Belmont paddock, however, all was quiet. Sherman did not minimize (yes, I wrote that) the change in California Chrome’s demeanor.

“You get used to everything about a horse when everything is right,” Sherman said. “For whatever reason he was different that day in that one respect.”

As if to reassure his trainer all was well, standing there in the warm Central Valley sun, California Chrome proudly unfurled the flag. Sherman laughed, shook his head, and changed the subject.

“You can see he’s put on a little weight in the belly, but I expected that,” the trainer said. “Especially since they tell me he doesn’t do much running around. He appears to be taking the idea of a vacation seriously.”

After Sherman consulted with McGlothlin and farm trainer Per Antonsen, it was decided that California Chrome would return to the Sherman stable at Los Alamitos the following week. There the colt will prepare for a two-race fall campaign that would include something at the end of September – perhaps even a race at Los Alamitos – followed by the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.

Sherman concluded his visit with an affectionate stroke of the colt’s neck and then, as he headed for the paddock gate, one last appreciative look at his double classic winner.

“Would you look at that,” Sherman said. “The Kentucky Derby winner, out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“Want to see his little sister?” McGlothlin asked.

“You mean the Kentucky Oaks winner?” Sherman said. “Lead the way.”

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The horse is up for some downtime. The owners are the ones that need a long layoff from microphones, tape recorders and press releases.
mike More than 1 year ago
Dee Question? Why do you continually bash the owners regarding greed? Just read BH, as you're aware can't do anything else there but read and your comments to several are,as if this is a big deal. Is the owner of Ria greedy for placing her in the one of the legs of the Triple Crown when everyone knew was over her head? That's what I label greed. Look how her career is mismanaged,please say I'm incorrect. You're very well versed and you indicate to owning horses that compete. Should be obvious to you how expensive this business,as someone said the owners aren't rich. Someone I know, his brother won 50k last month playing slots,out of that he went home with 38,after taxes. Taxes aren't cheap regarding racing,as you're aware of. Can make the case to you that many owners are greedy in a bad way by running a horse when he's not able and/or placing them in a race way over their heads. Am i wrong? Still don't think it's a big deal. Why don't you throw a few comment's equine fan's way? You know I can't.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
You have to be kidding with this mikey.
mike More than 1 year ago
Ok,so you won't give me the Ria comment? Am I wrong about the owner? FYI I threw in the comment regarding the troll,equine fan's remarks about CC cause he's a troll. You know I'm a big fan of CC's.
mike More than 1 year ago
Ok,guess this is an issue I disagree with.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Mike, I didn't respond because I didn't even know where to start. A few comments. Your logic corresponds with the DAP's. Is your friend only going to complain about the 12k he paid the IRS and forget he still kept 38K? Does your friend know he can also write off gambling losses and get some or all of the 12k back? Are we really going to talk about the expenses and taxes for the DAP's and not the millions they still keep? I don't even know what you mean when saying, "taxes aren't cheap regarding racing." Educate yourself. Horse racing is a tax benefit to many. Losses can be written off for an extended number of years.
mike More than 1 year ago
Thanks for responding. Ok,to answer when stating about taxes aren't cheap just saying there's alot to pay. Dee,you know Chrome's owners aren't rich. Don't you at least agree with my remark regarding Ria?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Ria is apples to oranges, not comparable. It's a different circumstance. I suppose it was not smart to put Ria in there but not even close to being the same thing. Oh, and after all expenses and taxes, both owners are now millionaires, and after Chrome's retirement, multi millionaires. Don't feel sorry for them for their expenses.
mike More than 1 year ago
Ok,yes I know Ria is a different issue. Well aware, was only illustrating the many forms of greed we have in racing. Her career is mismanaged,not only my opinion.
mike More than 1 year ago
I respectfully agree to disagree with you. Way past the other stuff. Bet you're shocked. lol
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
You keep using the word greed which I never used. Running a horse where it cannot win money is not about greed. It's hard to disagree with factual evidence, and DAP have supplied plenty for me to form my opinion of them.
mike More than 1 year ago
Look,getting what you're saying. Realize they aren't on your hit parade,just think many owners are worse.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Thanks for keeping us updated, Jay. I thought Perry Martin explained it very well as to the reasons they gave for declining the invitation to parade Chrome. As for racing at Los Al, do it next year when the pressure is off. This is a contentious HOY campaign. Chrome should get in another Grade 1 before tackling the BCC, and the Awesome Again would be a perfect launching race. Even if he doesn't win the Classic, if he comes up with a 4th Grade 1 and another stakes on his resume, he will be hard to overlook for end of year honors, and, hopefully, the HOY. Everyone seems to think they know what others should do with their horses. Everyone's a critic. Looking forward to seeing Chrome back in action.
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
This Horse Will Get Killed In The Breeders Cup Classic With All The Much Better Older Horses Plus TONALIST & UNTAPABLE Yes That's Right The Filly All Much Better Horses Than Chrome The Owners Might Want To Leave Him In LOS ALOMITOS
JimMcCarthy1 More than 1 year ago
Anyone can pick a single horse four months out and declare they won't win the Classic and probably be right. In other words, you're taking the field at 1/100. Congrats on your brilliant and cogent analysis.
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
No Jack*** What I Am Saying Is What I Said All Year Long Even Before The Derby This Was The Worst Bunch Of 3 Year Olds In 20 Years And With All The Injuries To Shared Belief And Constitution CC Beat No One I Repeat Beat No One We Will See What Really Kind Of Racehorse He Is Now And I Am Sure Your Not Going To Like What You See.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
roflmao
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Untapable :) roflmao
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
The owners of Chrome could not have picked a better stable name for themselves. They demanded 50k to parade the horse at Del Mar which was refused. Martin said, "It costs money to ship him, it’s a day off from the horse’s training" That would have to be the most expensive van ride ever, and he would only miss the day in training if Del Mar wanted to parade him at 6 AM. Don't think this is about whats best for the horse. If they gave him the 50k, Martin would have asked when do you want him there. Martin also said they might skip the Los Al prep in favor of a win and in race unless Los Al pays Chrome's entry fees to the BC Classic. Again, perfect stable name. With Los Al writing a race just for Chrome with 200k added money they are paying his entry fees. Many said it was never about the money, it was always about the money and they're still stinging from losing millions when Chrome lost the Belmont which they thought should have been handed to them. Think anyone will complain about Chrome being fresh for the Classic?
mike More than 1 year ago
Question? Why sweating over the small stuff? So what! Tell me what you would do if you owned CC?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't rush him to the BC Classic if the intention is to run him as a 4 year old. I wouldn't ask 50k for an appearance fee, instead I would give a yes or no answer. I wouldn't act like a five year old having a selfish all about me temper tantrum when all the worlds camera's are on me as a spokesperson for the sport.
mike More than 1 year ago
Believe it or not I agree with you regarding not rushing him to the BC if he's not up to it. But as for what Coburn did @ Belmont,every single human has in many instances said/did things they wish they hadn't. My prob is when others sit in ivory tower looking down and making judgements when many do FAR MUCH WORSE. I talked with him a few days ago.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Mike, let's have an honest conversation. Many say it was heat of the moment and regrets what he said. It was not heat of the moment, he continued with it. When he apologized it was for his manner and not what he said. You can't honestly tell me you agree with what he said. He called the connections of Tonalist cowards for running a fresh horse, when there was nothing different about that Belmont as any before it. He said only horses that run in the Derby should be allowed to run in the Preakness and so on. That's insane on a hundred different levels. I know you don't believe that, and he still believes that. I'm not throwing stones. I'm making comments on the reality of what I see.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Dee, you are 100 % correct.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dee Don't know about you, but our little disagreements I've put aside. One thing for certain neither one of us are stupid lol As for Steve,not indicating I agree with him on everything. I really do like him and grown way tired of the "blue blood" snobs that dominate racing. Funny as I've pointed out Sheik Mo,with megabucks can't find a Derby winner and these two, with next to nothing hits the home run. They have my respect.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
They didn't demand $50,000 Del Mar contacted them . Then Del Mar leaked it that Chrome was going to be paraded even though they had no deal . When DMRs strong arm tactics didn't work they leaked more info to the "POCKET MEDIA " in an attempt to SPIN the story . I suppose Cigar wasn't getting an appearance fee to show up in Boston ? LOL. Give me a break. What kind of a jerk is Alan Paulson who made more money in a day than the DAPs will make in their lifetimes ? Do you want to answer that one Dee ? Naw , I bet you don't .
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Sure sweetheart, I'll try to answer your question which has little to do the facts of this story. I'll give the short answer, as I'll only be repeating myself. Before making an argument, it's important to read and comprehend first. There may have been a little spin to this, but very little. The owners themselves did indeed demand 50k to parade him. There was no spin there. My comment had nothing to do with if they should or shouldn't make money on it or if he should do it for any reason. Simply that they did demand the 50k. And even though he shouldn't have been paraded, they would have done it without a second of hesitation for the money. You would have lost your mythical bet. But I did enjoy the childish call out. My comment had nothing to do with the relativity of wealth. It had nothing to do with if he deserved it or not. It had nothing to do with who is a bigger jerk. It had only to do with their juvenile uniformed words and actions, and what they would do regardless of what is best for the horse for a few dollars, then, spin their own story and lie about it. And worse, attempt to extort Los Al on top of all this, proving what it was really all about.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
And before you spew more childish nonsense to say they didn't spin their own story and they didn't lie, here is the reality. They said that most of the 50k would have been eaten up in transportation and insurance. Their words not mine. And before you tell me all about how expensive insurance is, I do know. I also know this, there is absolutely positively no way that it would have come anywhere close to that. Not even close. But that's what they said. That's spin. That's a lie.
Paula Higgins More than 1 year ago
You know, i think this is about your problems with DAP in general than about this one particular situation. I mean you posted this same thing on Bloodhorse. Why rehash the Belmont issue with Coburn and why carry on about a decision that was made for a number of very good reasons. Coburn just made a comment on twitter that one of the main reasons was he just got back from the farm and the insurance would have been off the chart. The would not have made any money. it would have gone to the cost of the trip and the insurance and they had no deal to make money off of shirts or anything else. I mean this is much ado about nothing.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
If you're going to defend someone for what they do and say, you should actually be aware of what they do and say. I'm sure DRF enjoys your advertisement for another horse racing site, but neither told the public about this story, which is far from much ado about nothing. It directly goes to the continuing nature of the owners which has become obvious to those paying attention.
mike More than 1 year ago
Paula how are you? I greatly miss BH. Am banned
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
Mike R? Why don't you just post under a different name and email address? I am sure Draynay has done that! But if they banned you, maybe be a bit more careful with the negative posts.....
mike More than 1 year ago
I did try under a different name,email add was thrown off again. Did you read the comments equine fan posted regarding CC?
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
You would have to use a different email address too - have you tried that? I don't know which comment you are referring to, but the posts I have read from that individual make it appear they are NOT a horse or racing fan.....
mike More than 1 year ago
I agree they aren't a fan.
Dennis Lapp More than 1 year ago
You are spot on.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Why should the owners of CC send him to Dmr to parade for free? What does Dmr do free for anybody? They charge very high prices for admissions, food, drinks and everything else they can put a price tag on. Reason is because they know people will come to Dmr and have to pay those prices. Kudos to CCs connections for giving Dmr a taste of their own medicine. If Dmr won't pay, they get no benefit from hosting CC
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Walter, I actually don't have a problem with that. I actually don't have a problem with being upset that someone is making money on their property. What I have a problem with is the scam they've been running that it's not about the money and people believe them. I have a problem with them now telling people the 50k would have eaten up in insurance cost of the short ship. Not true. I have a problem attempting to extort Los Al for entry fee's when their basically paying their fees by writing a race for them. I have a problem with them implying it's what's best for the horse to not put him on display, but if the 50k would have been paid, they would have put him on the van with bells on.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
After watching the "new" meet at Los Al, I would not want to run CC there, make's no cents :)
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
You of all people know I like this horse just fine. The owners? Oh hail no! And I think I've been clear as to why. And this should make my point. I wouldn't want to run him there either, but they try to extort Los Al for the BC entry fees to run him there and will if they agree. Or, realize they are paying the fees for an easy win with 200k added. And to that I would it doesn't make any "cents" but it does as it's all about the cents.
mike More than 1 year ago
Dee,if you label Coburn/Martin greedy what about the many others that own horses?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Your missing the point again mike. They are hypocrites. Selfish, childish, and uninformed behavior has nothing to do with greed, and never used that word, only you did. I'm all for owners who are lucky enough to make money in this sport and never ever would hold that against anyone. Extortion is a completely different thing. The stable name fits perfectly.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
DEE - you are the one that is uninformed . Horses have been getting appearance fees directly or indirectly for a long time . You are the hypocrite because you know it and refuse to admit it. You are childish because even though everything points to Del Mar as the strong arm extortionists you continue to insist the opposite . That's not going to work . There are some adults around here that aren't going to fall for your childish spin ;)
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
You're simply not paying attention jackyjacky. I've explained this in a reply to you elsewhere. Has little to do with what you want to argue about. The points I made are based on the facts of this story. "Some adults around here aren't going to fall for my childish spin"? Who are the extortionists? They said they will skip the Los Al prep unless they pay their entry fees to the breeders cup classic, even though by writing the race and handing them the purse they are paying the fees. By ignoring the facts of what I said, you put yourself in the same category as DAP.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
I AGREE COMPLETELY! My opinion of them changed after the Preakness when their true colors started to show, beginning with the trashing of Churchill Downs in the winners circle!
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
My Sentiments Exactly I Couldn't Have Said It Any Better
Cheryl Kleist More than 1 year ago
To all of the above posters! ENOUGH ALREADY! So you don't like the owners, you don't need to keep looking for every excuse to make that point. I wouldn't want to risk a trip to DelMar to just show the horse either; he's too valuable. Do any of you work in insurance?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
To all the above posters who keep saying about how high the insurance would have been to ship him and to those who say they didn't want to because he's too valuable to risk. ENOUGH ALREADY! It had nothing to do with that. It wouldn't cost nearly what they said and want you to believe. I am well aware of the cost of insuring horses. Do you really think it costs 50k for one van ride? And the most important point that you choose to ignore. He would have sent him on that van with bells on to parade if Del Mar would have paid the 50k. Wake up.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Oh, and I didn't look for an excuse to say how much I don't like the owners. They continue to present me that opportunity by their words and actions.
mike More than 1 year ago
Dee I don't like the owner Barry Irwin. He's never met a mic he didn't like.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
LOL! Spot on!
mike More than 1 year ago
Jon g "Yosemite Steve"? Says "Southpark Kenny" Careful Jon if your family realize how many dumb statements that comes from your mouth,they might trade you in for a pet monkey.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
PA Derby perfect race for him.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Would love to see that happen.
Wilbur Pepino More than 1 year ago
YOUR RIGHT ABOUT THE PA. DERBY
Walter More than 1 year ago
Los Al is trying to get on the TB map, so it makes sense for them to write a race for CC to come. Then Los Al can say they have raced the 2yo champ and the KY derby/Preakness champ in the same year. Not a bad resume' for their inaugural year.
carla More than 1 year ago
Wow seems like people either love the horse or hate him. I can't wait to see him race again. I rooting for him to win the BC. Weather he does or not that with have to wait to see. If he wins then I would be convinced he would have won the triple crown had he not gotten hurt at the gate considering he only lost by a small margin. Even if he comes in second to an older horse I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He he runs poorly then I will swallow my pride and say he's nice horse with a nice story and not as talented as I thought. Best of luck to his connections especially Art Sherman.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Interesting take Carla. I'd only say that CC without a doubt is super talented. The break did not cost CC the Belmont. Many of us said pre race that we thought he wouldn't win for several reasons. He ran well in the Belmont if you ask me and yes the break did hurt him, but, I've owned horses that had worse breaks and won. Don't judge CC on this years BC. First off, he is on a deserved break, also expecting him to be able to step up and beat older horses this year is unrealistic anyway. This doesn't mean CC isn't a monster. I too will be rooting for him to perform well and remain healthy. However, as the best college athletes take some time to perform as well against pros, CC will need to step up against the likes of what he has to face in the BC. The big boys are the real deal. Restricted 3 year old races are sexy, but older horses can be tough as nails. Suffice it to say, CC is talented. Winning the Ky Derby and Preakness was a job well done. Let's all hope he stays in training next year, so we can see how he matures.
jon g More than 1 year ago
Myself,like many others like the horse but can't stand Yosemite Steve Coburn
mike More than 1 year ago
He probably would get his fill of you in a half sec.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
I don't see too many people saying anything about the horse (however anyone who does not favor him has that right anyways...). It is the owners that people are having issues with which is SEPARATE from having a dislike of the horse. Don't know why some people seem to lump it all together as one issue when it is NOT....
Dennis Lapp More than 1 year ago
Real class demonstrated by the dumbasses that own this horse in asking for fifty K in appearance money at DelMar.
jon g More than 1 year ago
Mike,the Yosemite Steve groupie,will be on the attack when he reads this
mike More than 1 year ago
Do you ever dial down fool?
jon g More than 1 year ago
Isn't it cowardly to bypass the Awesome Again or Jockey Gold Cup and ride in the BCC. What says you Yosemite Steve? Or is it unfair CC won't have a race over the track or at the distance. It's pathetic they are writing a $200k race the week before the Awesome Aagain to accomadate these jerks. He will get trounced in the Classic
mike More than 1 year ago
You're an idiot! Too bad since you probably bet against him in the first two legs,you probably lost your rent money.
jon g More than 1 year ago
That's odd,I hit the Belmont. I don't harbor any regrets over the short money I lost on Derby.Preakness i hit,but who didn't. It was a break even bet
mike More than 1 year ago
Happy 4 you!! eye roll
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Chromes wounds have healed, yours from your losses are still gaping.Try some neosporum.