California Chrome jogs at Belmont Park May 27.
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California Chrome jogs at Belmont Park May 27.
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Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

Chrome's Gallop Leaves Connections Raving

Plans are for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to work Saturday, May 31.

Triple Crown contender California Chrome  had his connections raving about his form following his two-mile gallop May 27 at Belmont Park.

Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, Art Sherman, said the Lucky Pulpit colt who will attempt to sweep the Triple Crown when he competes in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 7, expressed his eagerness this morning long before setting foot on the track.

"He was feeling really good today," said Sherman. "He was dragging me around the (shedrow) before we went to the track. He's on it."

During his gallop, California Chrome noticeably tugged at exercise rider Willie Delgado.

"When I was watching through the binoculars I saw when he grabbed a hold of Willie," said Sherman. "You can always tell because he leans on him and you can see Willie start to lean back. He was galloping good and strong today. I was happy about it."

Delgado said it was difficult for him to resist the temptation to let California Chrome go faster.

"Today he was much more sharp," said Delgado. "I let him see how far he'll go pulling me like that, but then I have to slow him down. I'm like, 'No, son, you got to get back over here'."

Delgado said he has even more confidence going into the 1 1/2-mile Belmont than he did before the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Chrome won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by 1 3/4 lengths and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths.

"I can tell you he loves this track, and I don't see him (having) any problem getting a mile and a half," said Delgado. "This is the strongest I've felt about him winning a race. I said it before, if he wins the Derby, we'll probably go all the way. He's starting to show he can go over this track very easy."

Sherman said California Chrome remains on schedule to breeze on Saturday, likely at 8:45 a.m. following the renovation break.