California Chrome is back from his abortive racing tour in England and he’ll have a familiar presence aboard for the rest of the year–Victor Espinoza will return as his jockey for the remainder of the 2014 Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner’s four year old campaign.
Victor Espinoza is on top of the jockey world–he was California Chrome’s regular jockey during his three year old run and served the same role for American Pharoah during his successful bid for the Triple Crown. In fact, those two worlds may eventually collide since both horse’s connections are targeting the Breeders’ Cup Classic. At that point, Espinoza will have a huge decision to make but until then he’s ‘all in’ on California Chrome. Minority owner Steve Coburn confirmed that Espinoza will be riding California Chrome in next month’s Arlington Million at Arlington Park. Actually, Espinoza confirmed that himself with this announcement on Twitter: “To answer the 1000′s of questions regarding #californiachrome and the #arlingtonmillion You better believe I will be riding chromie in the race.”
Espinoza was aboard California Chrome for his second place run in the Dubai World Cup. At that point, Chrome shipped to England and Espinoza returned to the United States and his historic run with American Pharoah. Franki Dettori was California Chrome’s workout jockey while William Buick was scheduled to ride him in the Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. That never happened, of course, and due to a foot bruise California Chrome ended up not racing in England. He returned to the United States last week and is now under the care of his regular groom and exercise rider, Anna Wells.
There has been some concern in horse racing circles about California Chrome’s well being as he’s visibly lost weight during his time abroad. Minority owner Coburn addressed this issue with the following statement: “It is our belief that he needs to put on about 150 pounds. We appreciate all of your concerns and hope that you all know that he is in the best hands with Raul and Anna. His health and well-being is our top concern and we are confident that now that he is home and with people he is familiar with things will only get better. Please think positive thoughts as he starts the rest of his U.S. campaign.”