Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner California Chrome boarded a van at Churchill Downs at 10:17 a.m. Monday, May 12 for the first leg of his journey to Pimlico Race Course to headline the 139th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday, May 17.
Accompanied by Preakness candidates Ride On Curlin and General a Rod, California Chrome rode by van from Louisville, Ky. to Lexington, where he boarded a flight bound for Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Scheduled to arrive at BWI at 1:45 p.m., the Derby winner and company are slated to receive a Baltimore City Police escort to Pimlico with an approximate 3 p.m. arrival time.
California Chrome completed the Churchill Downs portion of his training for the Preakness Stakes by galloping 1 1/4 miles with Willie Delgado aboard.
"Everything is perfect. I couldn't ask for anything more," said Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father Art Sherman, of the colt's stay in Louisville following his victory in the Run for the Roses. "He lost a little weight after the race but put it all back on quickly."
Victor Espinoza, winner of the 2002 Preakness on War Emblem, has the return mount.
In other Preakness news:
* John Oxley's Dynamic Impact walked the shedrow at Barn 36 at Churchill Downs, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 in preparation for the Preakness.
"He came out of the work fine and will go back to the track Tuesday," said Norman Casse, assistant to his father Mark Casse.
Miguel Mena will have the mount Saturday in his first Preakness.
* Federico Tesio winner Kid Cruz galloped and was schooled at the gate for the second day in a row at Belmont Park in preparation for a van ride to Pimlico Race Course that would arrive between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to trainer Linda Rice.
Owned by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, Kid Cruz will be one of seven non-Kentucky Derby starters in Saturday's expected field of 10 for the 139th Preakness. At least four of the competitors have shown an affinity for early speed while Kid Cruz is a well documented closer.
"It certainly can't hurt," Rice said. "In his two previous races (Tesio and Private Terms), there's been no pace at all and he's managed to close into it. These are much faster horses, though. Hopefully he can catch them."
Kid Cruz was especially impressive in winning the nine-furlong Private Terms at Laurel Park in his first stakes start on March 8. Sitting dead last in a field of 10 in the backstretch, the son of Lemon Drop Kid passed the entire field under jockey Julian Pimentel and won by four lengths. The margin was 3 1/2 lengths in the Tesio at Pimlico on April 19.
Rice will attempt to become the first female trainer to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown and is already set to make history as part of the race's first edition to include a female trainer, jockey (Rosie Napravnik), and horse (Ria Antonia).
Pimentel, who rode in both stakes wins, will be aboard the former claimer for the third time on Saturday.
* Trainer Wesley Ward returned to his original plan to ship Pablo Del Monte from Kentucky to Baltimore on Wednesday's charter flight.
Ward said Sunday that he would ship the colt on Monday because the flight would originate from the Lexington airport, which is just a couple miles from his barn at Keeneland. He reversed himself on Monday, though, and notified Tex Sutton officials that his homebred colt would not leave until Wednesday.
"I got thinking about it," Ward said, "and my horse is just thriving right now at Keeneland. With the direct flight on Wednesday I just thought, 'Let me leave him right where he's at.' I generally like to ship in right on top of the races when I go to England and France and thought I would stick with the original plan and train him right there at Keeneland, where he has trained his whole life, then ship a couple of days out and run."
Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez will ride the colt in the Preakness Stakes. Sanchez was aboard for Pablo Del Monte's six-furlong breeze in 1:12 1/5 Saturday at Keeneland.
* St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds' Ring Weekend jogged five-eighths of a mile and galloped a mile under Alice Clapham Monday morning at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
It was the Tapit gelding's first trip to the racetrack following his six-furlong workout in 1:13 1/5 on May 10. He jogged a half-mile behind trainer Graham Motion's barn at Fair Hill May 11.
Ring Weekend, who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) and finished second in the Calder Derby, is scheduled to ship to Pimlico after training hours Thursday morning and before the noon deadline set for Preakness entrants.
"If I had my preference, I wouldn't be there until Saturday, but I understand that we need to be there Thursday, and that's fair enough," Motion said.
Motion confirmed that Alan Garcia is set to ride Ring Weekend Saturday.