'Chrome Gallops at Rain-Soaked Churchill
After heavy rain overnight in Louisville, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner California Chrome was out a bit earlier than usual the morning of May 10 for a routine gallop at Churchill Downs.
Hitting the sloppy, sealed track a little before 6:30 a.m. EDT, the Lucky Pulpit colt galloped 1 3/4 miles under exercise rider Willie Delgado as he continues preparations for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course.
"I wanted to go out before the track got chewed up," assistant trainer Alan Sherman said of the colt's earlier than usual appearance. "He has been on a 'wet-fast' track before, but I don't know if he has been on a sealed track."
David Lehr, senior director of track surfaces, said Churchill Downs received two inches of rain after Friday's final race that went off around 7:30 p.m.
"We were able to go around three times before the rain," Lehr said of sealing the track. "It rained off and on all night and we got one big burst around 2:30 in the morning."
California Chrome is scheduled to leave for Baltimore May 12 and will gallop at Churchill before departing.
"We are supposed to load at the barn at 10 o'clock Monday morning and the plane leaves Lexington at 12:30," Sherman said. "He will train that morning and then go."
John Oxley's Illinois Derby (gr. III) winner Dynamic Impact was scheduled for a workout Saturday morning at Churchill in preparation for the Preakness, but the wet weather forced assistant trainer Norman Casse to scrub the drill.
"I was hoping they would open the track up, but they didn't and I totally understand why. They made the right call with all the rain," Casse said of the sealed track. "We are prepared to go tomorrow and if not, it is not a big deal and we can go Monday."
With the work postponed, Dynamic Impact galloped 1 1/2 miles instead under exercise rider Marco Cano.
"A lot of my horses didn't go out and I am happy he at least got to gallop," Casse said.
Among other Preakness hopefuls, Ria Antonia, who finished sixth in the May 2 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles under Maurice Sanchez.
"She had blinkers on in the Oaks and we are going to change equipment for her next race; whatever that will be," trainer Tom Amoss said. "She stood in the gate with blinkers off, which is required for an equipment change. We are still up in the air about the Preakness. She will work Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather."
If Ria Antonia goes on to the Preakness, she would bid to become the sixth filly to win the race and join Rachel Alexandra (2009), Nellie Morse (1924), Rhine Maiden (1915), Whimsical (1906) and Flocarline (1903).
After the track reopened at 8:30, Bayern galloped 1 1/2 miles under Jorge Alvarez and Ride On Curlin galloped two miles with Bryan Beccia aboard.
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