'Chrome' Gets New Shoes, Set for Belmont Work

'Chrome' Gets New Shoes, Set for Belmont Work
Photo: Scott Tracy
Farrier Judd Fisher with California Chrome

In time for his planned May 31 breeze, Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome got a visit from farrier Judd Fisher and a new set of shoes at Belmont Park.

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin's winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) had the routine footwork done May 30 around 1 p.m. EDT under the watchful eye of assistant trainer Alan Sherman, who said the completed job looks "outstanding."

Fisher, who flew in specifically to shoe California Chrome before his June 7 engagement in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), adapted a glue-on shoe produced by Thoro'Bred Racing Plate Company. Instead of attaching the shoe with adhesive, he now nails them into place.

"It was made to be glued on with an adhesive, but I didn't use the adhesive, I just nailed it on," Fisher said. "I just wanted to get him up off his sole a little bit more than he was. It was winter time when I put them on, it was a week before he ran in December, that last stakes race at Hollywood Park."

California Chrome won the Dec. 22 King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood in the new shoes to kick off a six-race winning streak accomplished by a combined 27 1/2 lengths, topped by victories in the Derby and Preakness. The flashy chestnut has four white feet, so his connections take extra care since white-soled horses can be prone to hoof issues due to lack of pigmentation.

Fisher shoes all of the horses for Sherman Racing.

"Judd's good at what he does; I trust his judgement," Alan Sherman said.

Before his pre-Belmont pedicure, California Chrome went out for his usual morning exercise but took a brief detour to school in the starting gate around 6:40 a.m. before galloping around the New York oval.

With New York Racing Association starter Roy Williamson supervising and Alan Sherman looking on, the son of Lucky Pulpit   was loaded into a stall in the starting gate on the backstretch, where he stood quietly for several moments.

"He was perfect in the gate," said Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome. "I just wanted (the gate crew) to make sure he's square; he has a tendency to spread his front feet when he's in the gate. My main concern is that he stays square. I may take him another time next week."

After being led out, California Chrome went off on his daily gallop under exercise rider William Delgado, going just under 1 1/2 miles, slightly less than he had been galloping on previous mornings.

On May 31 at 6:30 a.m., California Chrome will finally get to stretch his legs in an official workout, his only move between the Preakness and the Belmont. The colt is set to breeze four furlongs with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard.

Espinoza plans to fly in to New York to work California Chrome, and then stay in the Empire State to ride a few races over the track known as "Big Sandy" in preparation for his chance at Triple Crown glory.

California Chrome seeks to become the first California-bred in history to win the Triple Crown.

"He's ready to work; he's climbing out of his skin right now," said Sherman. "Once Victor (Espinoza) gets on him he'll know it's time to work."

Most Popular Stories