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California Chrome
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Anne M. Eberhardt

'Chrome' Pronounced Fit, Ready for Preakness

Connections said May 16 that the colt galloped well and his throat is not an issue.

California Chrome  splashed his way around a sloppy main track at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 16 and was proclaimed ready to go for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) the following day.

Meanwhile, the Lucky Pulpit colt's connections said there is no issue with his throat after he was heard coughing upon returning from his May 15 gallop.

"California Chrome is fine," assistant trainer Alan Sherman told the media May 16 about an hour after the colt galloped. "His throat is fine. He got a little tickle, but he's not going to be scratched (from Saturday's race). I don't know why it was blown out of proportion. The horse is in perfect shape."

Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome for Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, said the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner got over the sloppy surface with efficiency despite rain and 25 mph winds at Pimlico.

"I was impressed," the trainer said. "He was wearing four bandages, and he didn't have mud on any of them. He handled the track. He's a California-bred, so he doesn't see (those conditions)."

Sherman said the blister in the colt's throat isn't affecting him; it was treated with a glycerine wash. He said such developments can be caused by anything, even some feed that didn't properly digest.

"He ate up everything (this morning)," Sherman said. "His appetite has been good. My horse is in good shape; he's coming into the race strong."

Sherman again said he will leave it to jockey Victor Espinoza to decide what to do when the field breaks from the starting gate. California Chrome was on or just off the lead in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), but rated kindly in the Kentucky Derby.

"If there is speed in this race, he's not going to be too far off it," Sherman said. "The horse will run his race. They better have their running shoes on. I think we'll do really well. Victor said he has never gotten to the bottom of the horse."