His usual self in his stall in Barn 2 at Gulfstream Park the morning of Jan. 29, two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome awaited a scheduled trip to Taylor Made Farm, where he will begin his stallion career.
At 6:45 a.m. Sunday, California Chrome's groom Raul Rodriguez said the original plan to ship out around 9 a.m. to Taylor Made in Nicholasville, Ky. was still in place. Moments earlier on a cool, drizzly morning, California Chrome playfully let Rodriguez know he was around with a fake bite as the groom was doing some work outside his stall.
On Jan. 28 California Chrome's final race ended with a ninth-place finish in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) won by Arrogate. The result marked the first time since a sixth-place run in the 2014 Pennsylvania Derby (G2) that the son of Lucky Pulpit finished off the board.
After the race trainer Art Sherman said California Chrome had some fluid in his right knee.
"We can see he's a little off in his knee—he has a little fluid, nothing major," Sherman said after the race Saturday. "Maybe he has a small chip in the lower capsule."
On Sunday Rodriguez said swelling in the knee was about the same or may have gone down some.
Sherman noted after the race that the horse's flight to Lexington would be less than three hours, so if a chip needed to be removed or other treatment was needed, he would receive it in Kentucky. The trainer said the injury is common in racing but not for California Chrome.
"It's a common injury, but he's been so sound throughout his life," Sherman said.
One odd thing Sherman noticed before the race was when California Chrome ducked in before loading into the gate—something the trainer said the champion had never done before. An NBC cameraman with a hand-held camera was walking alongside when California Chrome swerved away and had to be redirected before loading.
After he's given any needed treatment and time to adjust to his new surroundings, Taylor Made hopes California Chrome can begin stud duty around mid-February. He'll stand for $40,000.