Things can change just that fast in horse racing. Just 48 hours ago on this website we reported that California Chrome could be ‘fighting for his legacy’ in Dubai. The word on the streets was that Taylor Made Farms–owner of Chrome’s stud rights–thought that he needed to work on his resume some more before he would reach his highest level of marketability. That sounds laughable on the surface but don’t forget that Chrome came from a famously unimpressive pedigree (California bred, sired by Lucky Pulpit, out of Love the Chase). For that reason, Taylor Made thought that a few more wins would maximize their return on investment starting with the Dubai World Cup.
Today, California Chrome is back on top and rightfully being considered one of the greatest race horses in history. He’s done it all except win the Triple Crown–Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and even a Grade 1 turf winner. Chrome completely outclassed the rest of the field at Dubai’s Meydan Race Course early Saturday US time to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup. In the process, he set a course record posting the fastest 2,000 meter time since the track switched to dirt from the synthetic tapeta surfaces two years ago. To put the exclamation point on his career, he pocketed $6 million for the victory which pushed him past Curlin as the biggest money winner in US racing history. Pedigree geeks can quibble about his bloodlines but to many observers his ‘legacy’ can be demonstrated in one number: 12,532,650 as in $12,532,650 of career winnings.
The race itself was vintage California Chrome. Victor Espinoza kept him just off the pace for the first 2/3 of the race and then kicked Chrome into overdrive. He simply accelerated away from the pack down the stretch and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Mubtaahij–but it didn’t even seem that close. By the end, there was no doubt that California Chrome smoked the field in winning the race that so famously eluded him one year ago.
Chrome will return to the United States early next week and after a brief quarentine in Chicago will spend a month relaxing at Taylor Made Farms in Lexington , Kentucky.