03/08/2014 6:03PM

Santa Anita: California Chrome breaks sharp and never looks back in San Felipe

Email
Benoit Photo
California Chrome is all alone at the finish of the San Felipe under jockey Victor Espinoza. California Chrome earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. – California Chrome is training at a place known for horses that run a quarter-mile, but on Saturday at Santa Anita he ran like a horse who wants every part of 1 1/4 miles.

California Chrome crushed his rivals in the Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, a major prep for 3-year-olds for both the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Under the system used by Churchill Downs to determine the field for the May 3 Derby, California Chrome earned 50 points, which should be enough to make the maximum field of 20.

If that happens, he will be the first horse to run in the 1 1/4-mile Derby who trains at Los Alamitos, which became California Chrome’s home after he was displaced by the closure of Hollywood Park. Los Alamitos is primarily a track for Quarter Horse racing, but has taken on an important role for Thoroughbreds on this circuit.

Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome, joked that California Chrome’s alert start on Saturday was “because he was training at Los Alamitos.”

“He looked like a 350-horse leaving there,” Sherman said.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Jockey Victor Espinoza wisely did not give up what came easy. California Chrome, who usually stalks, led every step of the 1 1/16-mile race. He repelled a prolonged bid from Midnight Hawk for the first six furlongs of the race before drawing away powerfully down the lane for a 7 1/4-length victory.

Midnight Hawk was a clear second by 6 1/4 lengths over Kristo. Schoolofhardrocks was fourth and was followed, in order, by Unstoppable Colby, Recanted, and Sawyer’s Hill.

Bayern, Home Run Kitten, and Rprettyboyfloyd were all scratched.

California Chrome set fractions of 23.09 seconds, 45.55 seconds – a 22.46 second quarter – 1:09.45, and 1:33.94 en route to a final time of 1:40.59 on a fast main track.

Even through California Chrome was being pressed through quick splits, “I was excited to see the hold Victor had on him,” Sherman said.

“He had horse,” Sherman said. “And when he asked him go to, he looked like a fresh horse.”

California Chrome is a California-bred who had raced just twice, without success, in open company prior to the San Felipe. Both those starts came at age 2. But he was coming off a pair of runaway victories against state-breds in his last two starts, and had the look of a horse who was getting good at just the right time. As a result, he was sent off the favorite at 7-5 and paid $4.80 for $2 to his backers.

He has now won five times in nine starts.

Perry Martin and Steve Coburn bred and own California Chrome, a colt by Lucky Pulpit who is named for his chestnut coat and generous splashes of white on his face and legs.

He’s pretty, and he looked pretty good Saturday.

Manolito Santos More than 1 year ago
The one to beat on kentucky derby.....
Manolito Santos More than 1 year ago
The one to beat on Kentucky Derby,watch out.....
RG Nicsum More than 1 year ago
Still some people are skeptical of California Base Horses. Well, some horses had proofed that Santa Anita or Churchill does NOT matter. For example, the same thing happened when Zenyatta won Breeders Cup Classic here in Santa Anita, but then in the same race on the following year she ran a heart-breaking-loss against Blame in Kentucky and became the Horse Of The Year couple of months later. Again, why do some people doubted California base horses? Well FYI and just so you know, the only 2 time Breeders Cup Classic winner is a CalBred named Tiznow, hope this help.
Kevin Heredia More than 1 year ago
Him and Candy Boy 1 2 in KD
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
California Chrome , that was well done. Victor Espinoza, congrats , looks like you might be in the starting gate come Derby day. Art Shermam , you must be 1 happy trainer to wake every morning to over see this horse. Coburn and Perry, nice job starting with choosing California Chromes sire Lucky Pulpit, a 2.5k bargain . A job well done to all, hots, grooms, riders, owners , trainer, This East coaster wishes you the best, don't think your dream has ended yet people, good job...........
S Jamal Oden More than 1 year ago
Looks alot like Secretariat did, runs like him too.
RICKY More than 1 year ago
This horse will represent California to the fullest come Kentucky Derby.
Joseph Bartelli More than 1 year ago
45.55 for the half and he doesn't get caught and wins by 5? Sounds like a bias to me! Dude does the same thing in the Big Cap. When it counts in the Derby or the Breeders cup where will these horses be????? Anyone, anyone? Bueller, Bueller! Yeah, that's what I thought!
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
an also ran,seen these before on the cal strips,wont ever go those fractions at churchill and be around
Kingfish More than 1 year ago
In the winners circle.
Russ Adams More than 1 year ago
7 1/4 lengths
Sophia Wyss More than 1 year ago
Except outside of the San Felipe and the Big Cap runners were coming from all over the pack. So there really wasn't an extreme speed bias yesterday. There were some front runners to win yes, but there were also some off the pace runners. Go check the charts from March 8th if you don't believe me. One example: Sahara Sky won the San Carlos coming from the far back of the pack to win at the wire.
RG Nicsum More than 1 year ago
Santa Anita or Churchill does NOT matter to me, why? because the same thing happened when Zenyatta won Breeders Cup Classic here in Santa Anita, but then in the same race on the following year she ran a heart-breaking-loss against Blame in Kentucky, what say you? anyone, anyone? Why do some people doubted California base horses? Well FYI and just so you know, the only 2 time Breeders Cup Classic winner is a CalBred named Tiznow.
raymond quenga More than 1 year ago
nice job to Califoria Chromes connection this horses is FREAKY-FAST,LOOK,he could have ran the next race an WON -Look -out can it B WEST-Coast-Time????? c-C-U-in the WINNERS-Circle, RSQ
Kingfish More than 1 year ago
Looks alot like Secretariat did, runs like him too. I once thought Shared Belief was the horse, but Chrome has changed my mind. He just got real real good the last 3 or 4 races, might be another I'll Have Another, but healthier.