Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome walked the shedrow the morning of June 1 after logging his final breeze before the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) a day earlier in front of a crowd of adoring spectators at Belmont Park.
The son of Lucky Pulpit went four furlongs in a sharp :47.69 Saturday under regular rider Victor Espinoza, and galloped out monstrously. He was caught in :59.93 for five furlongs by NYRA clockers, 1:12.95 for six, and 1:26.28 for seven over a tightly packed Belmont oval.
MITCHELL: California Chrome Sharp in Final Belmont Work
"Chrome came out of the work in great shape," reported Alan Sherman, son of California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman. "He was pulling (exercise rider) Willie (Delgado) around the shed row this morning. Everything is cold and tight and we're ready for Saturday."
Should he become the first horse in 36 years to sweep the Triple Crown in the June 7 Belmont, California Chrome would join Count Fleet (1943) and Citation (1948) as Triple Crown winners whose name begins with the letter "C." However, the letter "C" is the most popular first initial for Belmont Stakes winners, having taken 20 editions, beginning with Calvin in 1875 and most recently Commendable in 2000.
California Chrome takes a six-stakes win streak into the Belmont for owners/breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, and boasts eight wins in 12 races overall with earnings of $3,452,650.
Belmont Stakes contender Tonalist also was reported in fine shape Sunday morning after also putting in his final serious work before the "Test of the Champion" the preceding day at Belmont Park. The bay colt was clocked in 1:00.11 for five furlongs, working in company with stablemate Life In Shambles.
"He came out of his work in good order," said Tonalist's trainer, Christophe Clement. "He looked great this morning. He jogged a mile-and-a-half and went to the gate, standing in it and going back out, just regular schooling that we always do the day after the work. He will be back tomorrow and be back to his normal routine."
The likely second or third choice in the betting behind California Chrome, Tonalist enters the Belmont Stakes off a four-length score in the Peter Pan (gr. II) May 10. Robert S. Evans' son of Tapit has made only four starts in his career, with two wins and a second-place finish to his credit.
Elsewhere, trainers Rick Violette, Dale Romans, and Mike Maker all reported that their Belmont contenders came out of May 31 breezes well. Medal Count , trained by Romans, and General a Rod , trained by Maker, will fly June 5 from Kentucky to New York.
Samraat, who worked for Violette at Aqueduct Racetrack, will ship to Belmont June 4 after morning training.