Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner California Chrome made his first appearance on the track at Churchill Downs the morning of May 7 since winning the 140th Run for the Roses.
At 6:55 a.m. EDT, California Chrome was led from Barn 20 by Alan Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman, with regular morning partner Willie Delgado in the saddle.
Owned by his breeders Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome paused before reaching the five-furlong gap, taking a couple of minutes to check out the activity before going to the track. The California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit stood in front of the clockers' stand briefly and then jogged one mile.
"Good. Good. Really super," Delgado said of the morning exercise. "He went out there like he always does. He is his normal self."
Alan Sherman was similarly delighted with the chestnut colt's first appearance on the track since taking the May 3 Derby by 1 3/4 lengths.
"It went really good," Sherman said. "He wanted to train; he was tired of walking."
Sherman said California Chrome would resume galloping May 8 and maintain that schedule for as long as he remains at Churchill Downs. He will travel to Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course early next week to compete in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I), the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
"I still haven't heard about the plane; whether we will go to Pimlico Monday or Wednesday," Sherman said. "I'd prefer Monday. The key now is to keep him happy."
California Chrome will take a five-race winning streak, all in stakes, into the Preakness. He has won seven of 11 career starts with one second and lifetime earnings of $2,552,650.
Four other 3-year-olds with Preakness aspirations were on the Churchill Downs track Wednesday morning for various exercises.
Seventh-place Kentucky Derby finisher Ride On Curlin returned to the track for the first time since Saturday's race. With trainer Billy Gowan on the right and groom Bridget Lambert on the left, Daniel Dougherty's Ride On Curlin walked from Barn 47 to the six-furlong gap where exercise rider Bryan Beccia hopped aboard.
Ride On Curlin backtracked to the finish line and then galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles. "He was 110%; all systems are go," Beccia told Gowan after the exercise.
"He will do the same thing the next two days," Gowan said. "I will probably work him a slow half when he gets to Pimlico."
Like Alan Sherman, Gowan is hoping there will be a Monday plane to Baltimore.
Kaleem Shah's Bayern returned to the track on a mild, clear morning to jog a mile under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez for trainer Bob Baffert.
Bayern, who was disqualified from first in the April 26 Derby Trial (gr. III) for interference in deep stretch, worked a bullet five-eighths in :58 1/5 May 5 under Rosie Napravnik. Jim Barnes, who is overseeing Baffert's Churchill Downs string, said Bayern would resume galloping Thursday and work again May 12.
"That is our usual routine to work five days out and then ship on Wednesday," Barnes said.
John Oxley's Dynamic Impact, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. III) in his stakes debut in his most recent start, galloped 1 1/2 miles under Marco Cano for trainer Mark Casse. Miguel Mena, who was aboard Dynamic Impact for the Illinois Derby victory, is slated to be aboard when the Tiznow colt works May 10.
Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable's Ria Antonia galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs shortly before 6:30 Wednesday morning with Maurice Sanchez aboard for new trainer Tom Amoss. Sixth to Untapable in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 2, Ria Antonia is scheduled for a light breeze Monday.
Amoss told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Ria Antonia's Preakness status would be firmed up early next week.
"A decision will be made on Tuesday (May 13) whether or not we're going to do that—that will involve how she trains, how she works and how she comes out of her work," Amoss said. "If the decision is made to go on to the Preakness, it will be a decision that I also stand behind.
"I'm willing to take that responsibility, because I would not run a horse unless I thought we had a shot to win," he added. "People who know me and know my reputation, know that's the way I operate. I can assure you either I'm going to be for it and we'll do it, or we're not going to do it."
Meanwhile, Social Inclusion hit the road for Pimlico Wednesday morning.
The Twinspires.com Wood Memorial (gr. I) third-place finisher boarded a Pimlico-bound van at Gulfstream Park at approximately 10:30 a.m. after returning to the racetrack for the first time since being scratched from the May 3 Sir Bear Stakes with a bruise in his right front foot. The son of Pioneerof the Nile jogged to the satisfaction of trainer Manny Azpurua and Rontos Racing Stable's Ron Sanchez.
"We're all set and excited," Sanchez said. "I was a little concerned Saturday with the bruise, then I was happy (Tuesday) and today I'm excited. He went out jogging today and everything was great. Manny and his guys did a great job."
Plans call for Social Inclusion to breeze Monday at Pimlico.
Luis Contreras, who rode Social Inclusion in a pair of dazzling victories at Gulfstream as well as in the Wood, has the call for the Preakness.