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California Chrome
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Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome Progressing Toward Return

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner expected back at Los Alamitos by end of month.

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman reported July 5 that Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner California Chrome  could return to his stall at Los Alamitos Race Course by the end of the month.

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin's 3-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt won the first two legs of the Triple Crown for trainer Art Sherman but finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after injuring his hoof. The flashy chestnut continues to enjoy his recovery from the rigors of the Triple Crown trail at Harris Farms near Coalinga, Ca.

"He's doing well; I get videos of him almost daily and he's a happy boy," Alan Sherman said. "My dad is actually going out there on Wednesday (July 9) to see him. He's put some weight back on since he's been there."

Alan Sherman, who runs day-to-day operations for Sherman Racing, said California Chrome's right front hoof gash was already better when the striking chestnut returned to Harris Farms, where he was foaled, on June 19. The colt carried a six-race win streak into the June 7 Belmont before he was injured leaving the gate.

"It was actually almost healed when I brought him up there; I was really happy with it," the assistant trainer said.

Once back in training, the goal is the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. California Chrome is expected to hopefully start in a prep race at Los Alamitos. His current record stands at eight wins and a second from 13 starts, with earnings of $3,532,650.

"I'll probably jog him for about two weeks, maybe three, and then we'll start galloping him for a couple weeks—probably get about 30 days of training—and start breezing again to have him ready hopefully by the Los Al meet," Alan Sherman said.

Officials at Los Alamitos expect to create a race the colt could use as a steppingstone to the Breeders' Cup. The Los Angeles County Fair dates have been shifted from Fairplex Park to Los Alamitos this fall—an 11-day meet slated for Sept. 4-23.

"Obviously there's not a whole lot of spots you can run him as far as conditions go," Alan said. "If it's not a stakes, it'll have to be a wide-open allowance. He'll need a race before the Breeders' Cup, though, and we'd like to get him started here at home."

According to Brad McKinzie, general manager for the Los Alamitos Racing Association, the track will write a one-mile dirt race Sept. 20.

"Looking at the schedule, with us picking up the Los Angeles County Fair dates, one of the holes in the Breeders' Cup prep schedule was a mile dirt race, so we're looking at doing that here," McKinzie said. "We're still going over our stakes schedule and finalizing what the purse will be. Conditions will be for 3-year-olds and up.

"Art said to keep him informed because that could be a good spot for them to bring back California Chrome, and of course we'd love to have him run here."