Kentucky Derby winners are seldom in the sport for the long haul. Some take a shot at the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic before quickly being retired to a career as a breeding stallion. 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is a perfect example–what else is there for him to do in the sport? His stud arrangements were made shortly before the Belmont Stakes and he retired following his lopsided victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
There are exceptions and it’s no secret that California Chrome is a very unique horse. After winning the $10 million Dubai World Cup over the weekend (his winner’s share was a cool $6 million) California Chrome is the biggest moneywinner in North American racing history. He’s over $2 million up on Curlin (who had the ‘bad fortune’ of winning the Dubai World Cup in 2008 when the entire purse for the race was $6 million) and on his way back to Kentucky (via a quick quarantine stop in Chicago) for a month of rest and relaxation. But before he’s even touched US soil there’s a story afoot that Chrome might not be done racing at the end of his five year old campaign.
That’s been the working plan–the big mission for 2016 was the Dubai World Cup and tentatively he’s being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. He might run in the Pacific Classic before that but after this year he’s being retired to stud. Or is he? On Monday, co-owner Perry Martin revealed that Team Chrome has been talking to the Stronach Group about a proposed $12 million horse race to rotate annually between Santa Anita and Gulfstream parks. The race called the ‘Pegasus Championship’ would be run in January. And according to Martin, Chrome might be in the field for the debut event: “We’re interested. When we know more, I can tell you. All I know is, they’re working on it.”
By all accounts, Chrome came out of the Dubai World Classic in great form and there’s been nothing in his 2016 performance that suggests he’s on his last legs competitively. To the contrary, he’s already priced at 4-1 in the antepost betting market at some UK bookmakers.