Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome is settling in at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., after arriving Jan. 29. X-rays following his final race are all clear.
After finishing ninth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, trainer Art Sherman said there was a small amount of swelling in California Chrome's right knee, which the trainer didn't think was too serious. To be cautious, Taylor Made conducted X-rays of the knee and found no injury, according to Taylor Made's Duncan Taylor.
In fact, as it has after every California Chrome race, Taylor Made conducted a full set of X-rays and the champion is all clear.
"They thought that when he jogged he may have been a little off in the right front, and they thought there might have been a little heat in his right knee," Duncan Taylor said Jan. 30. "We've been X-raying him after every race, so we went ahead and did a full set of X-rays and everything looks good. There's not any problem there."
Taylor said the 6-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit is on schedule to start the breeding season on time.
"He's settling in good, he's been out in his paddock and everything is going good so far," Taylor said. "You know it feels great, the idea that he's coming here has already sunk in."
The Taylor Made team is excited to have the two-time Horse of the Year preparing for his first season at stud, which is expected to begin in mid-February.
California Chrome retires as the leading North American-based horse by earnings with more than $14,752,650 powered by 10 graded stakes wins, including seven at the group/grade 1 level, two of those being classics.
"We've had a really good response to the stud fee ($40,000). I haven't heard anybody saying 'You stood him too high,'" Taylor said. "We're able to pick through the mares. We've had a really good response from the breeders."
As for the off-the-board finish in his final start—his first since 2014—Taylor noted that the outside post presented a high hurdle for California Chrome.
"It's sort of a letdown that his last performance is what it was—I think that's not the (typical) Chrome," Taylor said. "Not to make excuses. Even if we were right next to Arrogate, we might not have been able to beat Arrogate; he's a great horse. I'm not taking anything away from them."
Taylor thanked the fans who cheered California Chrome throughout his racing career.
"We really appreciate all the fans, and the people who have got to enjoy Chrome and seeing that has been a lot of our enjoyment," Taylor said. "You really get to see first-hand how much a lot of people really love horses. You see these fans, when they fall in love with a horse, how much they actually care about them; it's really moving and rewarding to see. And you realize how blessed you are to be around these animals every day."