California Chrome

California Chrome

Benoit Photo

California Chrome to Run in Santa Anita Derby

Trainer Art Sherman confirms decision to start San Felipe Stakes winner April 5.

California Chrome  is headed for the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5, trainer Art Sherman confirmed from his headquarters at Los Alamitos Race Course.

"It's a relief that we've made the decision," Sherman told the Santa Anita Park publicity office by phone March 20. "The horse will blow out a half-mile Saturday (March 22) with Victor (regular rider Victor Espinoza) on, and probably have one more half-mile (work) before the race, then ship over five days before we run."

After California Chrome demolished his rivals in the an Felipe Stakes (gr. II) by 7 1/4 lengths March 8, Sherman said he was considering skipping the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby and taking the colt up to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on works alone. The California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit  earned 50 points toward a start in the Derby with the San Felipe win, assuring him of a spot in the starting gate for the May 3 event at Churchill Downs.

Sherman said California Chrome was knocked out a bit by his effort in the San Felipe, which was the colt's third consecutive stakes win and his fourth stakes victory overall. He has won his last three starts by a combined 19 lengths.

"The horse is acting really good right now." Sherman said.

Winner of five of nine starts overall for owners/breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome has earned $534,850.

The news sets up an anticipated match-up with Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) winner Candy Boy in the West Coast's major event for 3-year-olds and a leading prep for the Kentucky Derby.

In other 3-year-old developments, Bayern , a possible starter in the Santa Anita Derby, drilled a half-mile in :47 2/5 over the Santa Anita main track Thursday with Gary Stevens aboard. Posting the seventh-fastest time at the distance on the morning, he worked in company with 3-year-old stablemate Superlooper, who was timed in :48.

"He went nice," trainer Bob Baffert said of the Kentucky-bred son of Offlee Wild owned by Kaleem Shah. "He sat behind a horse, he relaxed nice."

Bayern is 2-for-2 in his career and stomped an allowance field by 15 lengths in his most recent start Feb. 13. Scheduled to run in the San Felipe, the dark bay colt was withdrawn a couple of days before the race with a foot bruise.

Asked whether Bayern might run in either the Santa Anita Derby or the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 12, Baffert said, "I don't know yet."