Dual classic winner California Chrome is due to return to his Los Alamitos stable July 17, two weeks earlier than expected, and his first start back could come at his home track Sept. 20, said trainer Art Sherman.
Sherman, reached by phone July 10, said he visited with his superstar colt at Harris Farms a day earlier and came away feeling good about California Chrome's return.
"He's put on a little weight," Sherman said. "Physically, he looks fine."
California Chrome has been at Harris Farms, where he was foaled, since June 19, resting after his Triple Crown exploits. Attempting to complete a coveted sweep of the series, the chestnut finished fourth in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after being stepped on after the start of the 1 1/2-mile race. He sustained a gash to his right front foot, which Sherman said has completely healed.
During his stay at the horse facility near Coalinga, Calif., California Chrome has had a full-sized paddock in which to cavort and has been soaking up the attention, according to Sherman.
"I'm anxious to get him back to the barn," Sherman said. "I've got a 2-year-old in his stall right now and it ain't the same."
The major goal for California Chrome's fall campaign is the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park. Sherman said California Chrome would have one prep race beforehand.
Los Alamitos and the Thoroughbred Owners of California are negotiating to add a race, the Los Alamitos Mile, to the stakes schedule during September's Los Angeles County Fair. The three-week meet has been moved from Fairplex Park for the first time to Los Alamitos and its new one-mile oval.
Brad McKinzie, Los Alamitos Racing Association general manager, said the Los Alamitos Mile has not yet received final approval from the TOC but that he expects it to come soon. The Sept. 20 stakes is for 3-year-olds and up on the closing day of the LACF meet. It is to carry a $200,000 purse.
"We're running the race, and we hope California Chrome will be in it," McKinzie said.
Sherman confirmed the Los Alamitos Mile is a likely target. "It'd be 5-6 weeks out (from the Breeders' Cup), so the timing looks pretty good on that," he said.
Another potential race would be the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) for 3 and up at 1 1/8 miles, which is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 27 at Santa Anita.
Alan Sherman, Art's son and assistant trainer, said July 5 that upon his return, California Chrome is expected to jog for a couple of weeks, followed by a couple of weeks of galloping. They will then start breezing him again.
Owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome set the racing world ablaze with his thrilling wins in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) before finishing in a dead-heat for fourth in the Belmont. That ended a six-race win streak for the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit who has won eight of 13 lifetime starts while earning $3,532,650.
Tracy Gantz contributed to this article.