Reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome looked quite at home Sept. 25 at Taylor Made Stallions during a fan day hosted in his honor, but the colt has more to do before settling into retirement.
A final soundness exam Oct. 1 by Dr. Larry Bramalge of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital will clear the 4-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit for a return to training, and he is expected to ship back to trainer Art Sherman's California base sometime between Oct. 8 and Oct. 15, Duncan Taylor said.
"Dr. Bramlage does a soudness exam where he trots them down and back, and the bones will definitely be X-rayed because that was the only problem he had, so it should be pretty simple," said Taylor, the president and CEO of Taylor Made.
Although he was shipped to England with plans of running there, and also went to Arlington International Racecourse with an eye on the Arlington Million (gr. IT) before bone bruising was discovered, California Chrome has not raced since running second in the March 28 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I)—but his new connections are hoping he will have a chance to tackle the world's richest race again.
Taylor Made closed a deal July 17 to purchase 30% interest in dual classic winner with the intent of racing him next year, then standing him at stud in 2017. The Central Kentucky farm bought out the ownership interest held by Steve and Carolyn Coburn, who co-bred and raced the colt with Perry and Denise Martin.
"That's what we're hoping for," Taylor said of running in the Dubai World Cup. "If the horse tells us he's ready to go, that's what we'd like to do. We'll just have to wait and see if that's what he wants to do."
Taylor said he was surprised by California Chrome's huge fan base.
"You just don't realize (how many fans the horse has)," he said. "It's taken us from the time that we first bought the horse until now... my brother Ben and I were like, 'We're gonna have these fan days, and nobody will show up or there will be five people.' But there's nothing greater than the fans of the horse business; that's what makes all of us be able to make a living out of it."
Taylor told the crowd that came out on a cool fall morning, "We appreciate all of you and your intensity and love for California Chrome and the horse business."
California Chrome currently owns a record of nine wins, three seconds, and a third from 18 starts—all within a 23-month period—and earnings of $6,322,650. Along with his standout victories in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) last year, he was third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).