01/18/2015 1:39PM

Sherman flying high on California Chrome's Eclipse wins

Justin N. Lane
California Chrome was named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male Saturday night at the 44th annual Eclipse Awards.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Art Sherman had an early morning flight Sunday to head back to California, but he probably didn’t need the plane, so high was he emotionally after his colt California Chrome was named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male Saturday night at the 44th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park.

“When they said Horse of the Year, I said, ‘Wow,’ ” Sherman said.

Sherman was instrumental in California Chrome getting both titles. After his loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to Bayern, California Chrome had a resume that included victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Santa Anita Derby, but he was winless since mid-May.

Sherman initially thought California Chrome was done for the year, but he was so impressed with the way California Chrome came out of the Classic that he trusted his instincts and rolled the dice by running California Chrome on turf for the first time in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar four weeks later.

California Chrome won, and that victory likely helped swing many voters looking for a reason to embrace him back into his corner. If he had lost, Sherman would have been second-guessed, but he was right and deserves much of the credit for what ended up transpiring here Saturday night.

California Chrome received 143 first-place votes from the 265 voters who returned ballots.  Main Sequence, who won titles as champion older male and champion male turf horse, was next with 53, with Bayern third with 36 votes. Shared Belief (12), Untapable (11), Wise Dan (6), Adelaide (1), and Take Charge Brandi (1) also received first-place votes. Two voters abstained.

Voting is conducted by members of Daily Racing Form, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which includes employees of Equibase. There were 280 eligible voters.

Because he and his family were in Florida for the weekend, Sherman postponed by 48 hours a scheduled workout for California Chrome. He usually works every Saturday but was slated to work Monday at Los Alamitos after Sherman got home Sunday.

California Chrome is scheduled to make his first start of 2015 in the Grade 2, $500,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 7. On Saturday night, Sherman said the Dubai World Cup in late March is a possibility after the San Antonio.

“We might be headed that way,” he said.

Shared Belief also is being pointed to the San Antonio. His trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, and Sherman have been friends for many years. Hollendorfer phoned Sherman Saturday afternoon to wish him luck Saturday night.

“He said we were going to win both. He was right,” Sherman said.

Other highlights of the evening included a graceful acceptance speech by Tom Durkin when presented with the Eclipse Award of Merit, which followed a heartfelt introduction by David Grening, Daily Racing Form’s New York correspondent.

Willis Horton, the owner of the 2-year-old filly champ Take Charge Brandi, was as entertaining in his speech as he was a year ago when his colt, Will Take Charge, was named champion 3-year-old male.

And Michael Blowen, whose Old Friends was recognized with a Special Eclipse Award, announced Old Friends was opening a satellite facility at Kentucky Downs, which will be the first Old Friends facility based at a racetrack. Old Friends now cares for 152 horses. Blowen, a leader in horse aftercare, reminded the audience of more than 500 always to put horses first.

“After all,” he said, “they’re the only reason we’re all here.”

Quite a More than 1 year ago
There might not be a home bred by a $2500 stallion out of an $8000 (they overpaid) mare trained by a guy in his 70's win HOY for another hundred years..
P Davis More than 1 year ago
They overpaid for Love the Chase.?? How would you like a 4.7 million dollar return on 8k? you're an idiot.
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
I thought Jay Privman gave a gracious presentation, very nice to "Acacia." But Lafitte, Jr.'s remarks to his co-presenter afterwards were hilarious.
Dianne Wade More than 1 year ago
Great article Jay, it was a pleasure meeting you!!
Ron Begole More than 1 year ago
Dianne, Congrats to your family from old friends at TimeMed, Ron and Janelle. We were at Derby to see you in the Winners Circle with Uncle Art! What a horse and what a thrill! Ron
Judith Van Doren More than 1 year ago
The future looking good for California Chrome, and the owners and trainer know this horse better than those making comments as if they know more. If Art and owners think Chrome can make the trip, and many others have, then we as on lookers need to support that decision not criticize it. Art is very careful and aware of what it takes, and more than likely has looked into the details needed for the round trip.
Holly Nichols More than 1 year ago
gone More than 1 year ago
Chrome has nothing to prove in the U.S.. Dubai was on the agenda since at least the Kentucky derby win if he was to race at 4. Over his summer rest he bulked up a lot more then anticipated and still wasn't 100% fit in the Classic. Now bigger, stronger and ready to take on the world. European and Japanese horse racing industry and fans blow the U.S. away in appreciation for the sport. The world wants to see the best go at each other on neutral territory. If he does well it's almost a cinch the Japanese will want him to stud given his credentials and dual surface abilities. Chrome's legacy is not going to get very far mating to sub-par mares in California. If we want to hear his name for many years to come it has to be Kentucky or Japan and I don't think the crowd in Kentucky care for him too much.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Sherman was the only one of the team worth anything.
P Davis More than 1 year ago
It takes a village to make a champion, from the groom to the exercise rider, to the vet, to the farrier, to both the trainers , the jockey and connections who hold it all together and make sure the horse is healthy, happy and has the best of everything.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Well, after all that chitter-chatter and mind numbing number crunching they got things right. Derby-Preakness is still a pretty high bar. Congratulations indeed Art Sherman. HOY means a great training job. And where would we be without a place for all of the Old Friends? Thanks,and a glass of white milk from the spotted cow by the red barn eating the green grass. Very mooving.
Paula Higgins More than 1 year ago
Very nice article Mr. Privman! You are so right about Art Sherman. It was risky to try the turf and he and Perry and Steve went for it. A very gutsy move that paid off.
John Brocklebank More than 1 year ago
what a job Art did with the horse and even a better job trying to handling of owners who great example how great this game is proof anyone can get a great horse and that you don't have to know much and lightning can hit anyone if your willing to try love this game
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
Who voted for Adelaide as Horse of the Year? They shouldn't be allowed to vote.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
I agree - they should have their voting rights revoked - as well as the two who abstained and the 15 who didn't bother to return their ballots. Let's give knowledgeable people who actually CARE, the right to the voting!