05/04/2014 11:00AM

Kentucky Derby win still sinking in for trainer Sherman

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Tom Keyser
California Chrome stands in the winner's circle with rider Victor Espinoza after winning the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For trainer Art Sherman, winning the Kentucky Derby Saturday with California Chrome still hadn’t sunk in yet Sunday morning.

“I’m still numb, to be honest,” he said Sunday morning. “I can’t describe it. The Kentucky Derby is the Kentucky Derby. I was so happy when we won the Santa Anita Derby, when you think of all the good horses that have won that race. That was my biggest thrill – until now.

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

With five straight wins, California Chrome will now head to Pimlico for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the May 17 Preakness Stakes. As of Sunday, it appeared he would face very few challengers from the Derby, plus several new faces to the Triple Crown.

California Chrome is certain for the Preakness, and the only other possibilities from the Derby field were Commanding Curve (who finished second), Danza (third), and Ride On Curlin (seventh).

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

Untapable, the filly who won the Kentucky Oaks, will not compete, trainer Steve Asmussen reaffirmed Sunday morning, saying it is “not in her best interest to run back in two weeks.”

California Chrome got a Beyer Speed Figure of 97 for his Derby win. He came out of the Derby well, said Sherman, who said California Chrome would remain at Churchill Downs in a stall in the barn of trainer Tom Proctor until he ships to Pimlico early the week of the Preakness.

“So far, everything looks good. His legs are cold and tight,” Sherman said.

Sherman said California Chrome would not work between races. He trained the horse 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 these circumstances.

“I don’t have to do too much, just keep him happy and fresh,” Sherman said. “I never run back in two weeks as a rule. It’s usually six or seven weeks. I just need to keep him fresh. 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 Wednesday. He would then have daily gallops from Thursday through the Preakness.

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

“As long as he’s here, I’m here,” Alan Sherman said.

Art Sherman said he would not rejoin California Chrome until the colt travels to Pimlico. It will be Sherman’s first time at Pimlico. As a jockey, he said he rode in Maryland at Bowie and Laurel but never Pimlico. As a trainer, he’s never run a horse there.

Because of all the demands on his time after the Derby, Sherman didn’t eat dinner at his hotel until about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and he got to sleep around 1:30 a.m., “way past my bedtime,” he said.

But by 5 a.m. Sunday, he was at the barn.

“When I left the hotel, at 4:30, it was rockin’,” Sherman said. “People had me signing autographs. Chrome was taking a little nap when I got here. I didn’t want to wake him up. So I took a nap, too.”

Dallas Stewart, the trainer of Commanding Curve, on Sunday said he was “50-50” to run in the Preakness.

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

“Todd and I agreed to let the dust settle for right now. He’s had two very, very hard races in three weeks, and the Derby was a very physical race,” Wellman said. “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 he will definitely consider the Preakness.

“Didn’t get beat all that far with a horrible, horrible trip,” Gowan said.

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

Baffert said Bayern, disqualified from a win in the Derby Trial last time out, was his lone contender for the Preakness. He was scheduled to work Monday at Churchill Downs.

– additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee

Matt Banchero More than 1 year ago
C.C....the can man.....any horse can get it
Old timer More than 1 year ago
As noted below, I don't think that C Curve was flying so fast as much as the rest of the field was slowing down. All one has to do is look at the splits. The final half mile was in 51 and change. That is very slow for this class of horse. He may very well win the Preakness but C Chrome may have a tough time in that Belmont stretch. He will have already run the Derby distance by the time he reaches the top of the stretch.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I hope Sherman feels that glow for a long, long time.
Henry Bee More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to a class act, Art Sherman.
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
California Chrome, if you watched all his recent races, never broke a sweat, and was miles the best horse. We had no other horse in the race that showed that type of form. Reminds me when Barbaro won the Derby as a $12 and change favorite. Lost all my bets on Saturday but one, the one on CC. In any other race he would have been 1 -2. Not a great pick, I admit, but one that was stolen money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
97 is a joke Beyer people are nuts. The head wind was so strong the time had to be slow, this number is flat stupid , my number was 105.
brumount More than 1 year ago
It is not surprising that Ride on Curlin is being considered for the Preakness. Did anyone watch what Calvin Borel's obsession to ride the rail did to Ride on Curlin's chances to do well in the Derby? He bolted to the rail after the start and that move put him way last as the trailer. Ride On Curlin is a presser! And he never tired but never had a chance as he was way too far back. From post 19, the jockey can not use that strategy. It is an unworkable move and an outrage for his backers that Borel applied this suicide move. I am sure that is what Billy Gowan meant by Ride On Curlin having a horrible, horrible trip. He in fact never got near another horse. And that is because his rally in the stretch came in the 5 or 6 path! Just picture that wave of a ride. Isn't the rail supposed to save ground? It is quite a shock to watch. I am sure Borel will not have a Ride On Curlin for the Preakness
Pom DeTerre More than 1 year ago
typical or borel- he loses more races than he wins with that tactic. his mind has one gear only, despite what the horse wants, borel just rides the way HE wants.
Dick Brasher More than 1 year ago
UR a Gunnieuuss!
zeakman1398 More than 1 year ago
It was what stuck out most to me during the early portion of the race. It is the reason I will never ever bet a Borel horse in the Derby. I really liked Ride On, and loved Revolutionary last year, but Borel horses offer terrible value. He's developed the self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to his Derby mounts. No one can take away what he's done, winning with two horses that probably had zero chance without the shortest trip, but RoC and Rev are not that type. It's too bad RoC never even had a chance.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
its quite funny reading these comments. lots of nay sayers 2 days ago all had every reason cali chrome couldnt win. well he won so now its all about the final time hes nothing because he didnt run fast enough and he had a slow beyer. he won thats all that matters and when he wins the preakness by 10 or more and pays about 2.40 or less its going be because they dint press him enough or it was a small field. just give them credit they were the best this year on derby day and thats that
Gunner More than 1 year ago
CaliChro looked just fine.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
What????