California Chrome after his tight second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic

California Chrome after his tight second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic

Anne M. Eberhardt

Sherman: 'Chrome' Will 'Come Back and Fight'

California Chrome will train up to the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup (gr. I).

After checking in on California Chrome  early Nov. 6 at Santa Anita Park, trainer Art Sherman made his way back to his home base at Los Alamitos Race Course.

Losing the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) for the second time Nov. 5 to conquering general Bob Baffert doesn't change the reality of a Sunday morning. There are still horses to work.

"We've got workers and things to do," Sherman said. "That's what this business is all about. You can't sit around and cry about it."

Although there was a tinge of disappointment in the trainer's voice, the ever-present pep Sherman displays whenever he talks about his star chestnut was still underlying.

"He's still a champion in my eyes," Sherman said of California Chrome's half-length loss to Arrogate  in Saturday's Classic. "He ran a great race. They were 10 lengths in front of the rest of them. It was a dominant performance by two horses."

NOVAK: Arrogate Upsets 'Chrome' in BC Classic

The 79-year-old trainer also couldn't help but look forward to getting another shot at Arrogate, possibly in the Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) Jan 28 at Gulfstream Park.

"I'm gonna go with that we were just using this as a prep for the Pegasus," Sherman said with a hearty laugh. "We're gonna come back and fight."

As for his analysis on the race, specifically the abundant criticisms of Victor Espinoza's ride—during which the jockey sat unmoved on California Chrome, looking back multiple times while Arrogate loomed late in the final turn—Sherman didn't hesitate to share his opinion.

"We've been getting a lot of flack that he should have went on instead of looking around," Sherman said. "He's ridden him with such confidence—maybe sometimes you get too confident. I don't think it mattered, though. I don't think it made a difference."

Sherman said California Chrome will get some rest, but will stay at Los Alamitos and train up to the Pegasus instead of getting turned out.

All that mattered for the moment, though, was the condition of the big horse.

"I feel better now that I went over the horse myself," Sherman said. "You never know how they're going to pull up."

While Sherman, along with his assistant and son Alan Sherman, attended to their duties at Los Alamitos, groom Raul Rodriguez remained at Barn 126 to watch over the 2014 Horse of the Year until his departure south at 10:30 a.m.

"He's good," Rodriguez said, watching the 5-year-old stand calmly with his head poking out of his double-wide stall.

Does he know he got beat?

"Oh yeah," Rodriguez said emphatically.