2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome has been enjoying a month of ‘rest and relaxation’ at Kentucky’s Taylor Made Farms where he’s ‘only put on 45 pounds’ according to trainer Art Sherman. He earned this time off with an emphatic victory in the $10 Million Dubai World Cup but according to his connections he’s getting ready to return to California and resume training for the second half of his five year old campaign.
The word now is that California Chrome will be back in Sherman’s care sometime on Sunday. The original plan was to keep Chrome in Kentucky until after the May 7 Derby and send him back West with the rest of the California based horses. Now, with his next race on the schedule it seemed like a good idea to get him back in training ASAP. The next race for Chrome will be the $200,000 San Diego Handicap on July 23 at Del Mar. Beyond that, there’s the Breeders’ Cup Classic in early November. After that, California Chrome is scheduled to be retired to stud and a permanent move back to Taylor Made in Kentucky.
It’s very unlikely, however, that he won’t race somewhere between July 23 and the BC Classic. It’s starting to look more and more like his connections will keep California Chrome in the Golden State and not travel East for the lucrative races elsewhere. Earlier this week, the management of Del Mar and Santa Anita announced a $1 million bonus for any horse that could win the Pacific Classic, the Awesome Again, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It’s likely they knew that the list of horses capable of winning those three very competitive races was very short–and at the top would be ‘California Chrome’. It’s good business for the tracks–California Chrome is a rock star and if he can win the three designated races he’s earned that seven figure check.
Until now, it seems that trainer Sherman’s biggest concern has been keeping California Chrome’s stall free of unwanted residents: “There had been some chickens in the stall. Who put these chickens in here?’ I said, and nobody knew. They really seemed to like it. Anyway, I disinfected his stall, cleaned it out like it’s brand new.”