(Santa Anita Release ) ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2016)–Idle since March 28 in Dubai, 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome came back running on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he forged to a 1 ¼ length win in the Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes. Trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, the 5-year-old California-bred horse by Lucky Pulpit covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.39.
Breaking from post position four in a field of seven older horses, California Chrome utilized his natural speed to sit a comfortable second behind pacesetter Alfa Bird into and around the Club House turn. Well in hand under Espinoza, “Chrome” cruised to the lead under a hold approaching the quarter pole and kept runner-up Imperative at bay the final sixteenth.
“He could’ve opened up turning for home, but Victor put the Full-Nelson on him,” quipped Sherman. “It was just what we needed. He’ll get a lot out of this race, believe me. It set up just as we figured. I knew he’d show speed. He’s been wanting to run quite a bit right now…and I said ‘He’s got a lot of gas (speed) himself and you can place him where you want.
“That’s why he’s a perfect horse. You don’t have to bring a game plan with him. He can sit off the pace or go on the pace.”
Sherman said that California Chrome, who picked up $2 million for running second in last year’s Dubai World Cup, would be heading back to the Middle East later this month.
“He’ll ship Jan. 21, have one prep (in Dubai), then come home after the World Cup,” he said. “It’s very heart-warming to see his fans and the reception he received. I was just jammed full of people around the paddock. It was just great.”