Lady and The Track | December 10, 2022

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California Chrome Can Run Anywhere

California Chrome Can Run Anywhere: California Chrome just won the G1 Hollywood Derby over Lexie Lou, the 2014 Queens Plate winner. After the race, the options for California Chrome opened up 100%. His pedigree suggested that California Chrome would have no problem with the turf, but when the unknown is there, the tension is high. Many will argue that the 2014 Hollywood Derby was not a quality grade one field, and it didn’t measure up to the fields the year has seen, but at the end of the year, many of the best are packed away, resting before starting their 2015 campaigns. California Chrome hasn’t been packed away, and seems to be horse that gets better with races and works. Chrome might be peaking again, getting back to his Triple Crown form.

California Chrome Hollywood Derby 2014

Coburn & Martin’s California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby Saturday, November 29, 2014 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, CA.
Photo: Benoit

California Chrome has been a dirt horse for 9 of his 16-race career. Six of his races were also run on synthetics. With a current record of 16-9(6)-1-1(1), California Chrome has shown he is a top dirt horse and can hang with the best. With this proven, Chrome has a lot of options as an older dirt horse. The Dubai World Cup is in the talks between trainer and owners. If Chrome did not ship across the world, where could he go? The Donn Handicap (G1) is a possible option, run at Gulfstream Park at 9F. The Santa Anita Handicap (G1) is a very possible option for the son of Lucky Pulpit. The 10F race is run at Santa Anita in March. Races later in the year could be The Stephan Foster (G1), the Whitney (G1), the Woodward (G1), the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and the final goal would be the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in Lexington Kentucky.

With California Chrome being sired by a graded stakes winner turf sprinter (Lucky Pulpit), Chrome should have had no issues on the Del Mar turf course. Of course, the colt did not. He won the race easily, not even breaking a sweat. California Chrome vied for the lead before letting Sawyer’s Hill take it and extend his lead. By the homestretch, California Chrome was not losing the race. With the easy win over turf, the colt opened up the book for more options, and maybe, running in a race other than the Breeders’ Cup Classic next year.

Where could Chrome find the turf under his hooves next? Kentucky Derby Day offers a grade one turf race, contested over 9F: The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. The last two years, this is a race Wise Dan has taken in stunning style. The connections have mentioned possibly sending California Chrome to the Arlington Million, if he can get experience on the turf. Well, Chrome got his experience and is ready for tougher competition. Other options could be the G1 Manhattan Handicap over 10F at Belmont or the 8.5F Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga. It is unlikely that Sherman would send the colt in a 12F turf race, but if he would, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) could be a possibility.

California Chrome may not have clinched Horse of the Year or Three-Year-Old Champion with his win the Hollywood Derby, but what he did do was open people’s eyes. The colt is more than a 9-10 furlong dirt horse. The son of Lucky Pulpit can run on any surface, as he has now won a race on every surface. California Chrome could possibly be a champion this year, but if he stays in top form, next year could really be his year. California Chrome can literally run anywhere and win.

California Chrome Hollywood Derby Photos: Benoit