Wednesday, August 20, 2014

California Chrome gears for Preakness

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Art Sherman has never had a big operation or wealthy clients who infused cash and horses into his stable.
But the 77-year-old trainer now can say he won the Kentucky Derby.

A day after California Chrome raced to a 1 3/4-length victory as the 5-2 favourite in the Derby, Sherman and his star horse received a stream of visitors at Churchill Downs.
“It’s pretty cool, I can tell you,” he said yesterday. “Beating all the big boys. . . .
“He’s the real McCoy, this one.”
Now the oldest trainer to win the Derby and his horse are headed to Baltimore for the Preakness in two weeks—the next step on the Triple Crown trail.
It will be Sherman’s first trip to Maryland since 1959, when he was a jockey at the old Bowie Race Course.
He rode some races at Laurel during his 23 years in the saddle but has never visited Pimlico.
Sherman plans to keep California Chrome at Churchill Downs before sending him to Baltimore, possibly on May 12.
“Five days at Pimlico would be perfect for me,” said Sherman, who briefly will return to his southern California base, where he trains 20 horses.
“That way I wouldn’t have to do much with him,” he explained.
“Just school him, stand him in the gate, and let him get familiarized with the surroundings.”
California Chrome appeared to bounce out of the 19-horse Derby in good order—leaving just a handful of grain in his feed tub after the race.
Jockey Victor Espinoza said he eased the colt over the final 70 yards.
Sherman typically likes to give his horses plenty of time off between races, but California Chrome’s owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin are thinking big and talking bigger.
“I told people this colt will go down in history,” said Coburn, the more talkative of the partners.
“When he wins the Triple Crown, he will be the first California-bred to ever win a Triple Crown.”
Of course, California Chrome will run in the Preakness with a target on him—the competition ripe to try and knock off the Derby champ.
Already other horses are lining up to take him on.
Commanding Curve, the Derby runner-up, and seventh-place finisher Ride On Curlin possibly could show up in Baltimore, where the Preakness has a maximum field of 14.

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