California Chrome attracted a crowd for his first workout over the Gulfstream Park track Saturday morning, when racing's most enduring star breezed five furlongs in preparation for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28.
With fans and horsemen lining the rails on the grandstand apron and backstretch, the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner's ground-devouring strides propelled him to a 1:00 3/5 clocking under a motionless Dihigi Gladney.
“I'm really happy with that work. The track was a little deep, and he covered the ground well. I couldn't be happier with him,” said Alan Sherman, trainer Art Sherman's son and assistant. “He just goes about his business. He loves to train.”
California Chrome finished off his morning exercise with a six-furlong gallop-out in 1:13 1/5, leaving his exercise rider impressed with the workout and the turnout.
“This horse has a lot of supporters. I looked out there before the track closed for the break and I saw the people piling in. I said, 'Look at this.' The Chrome Community is strong everywhere,” Gladney said. “They love this horse everywhere we go.”
California Chrome also seemed to appreciate the attention Saturday morning, Gladney said.
“He's been training early in the morning [before dawn], but he's the type of horse when you take him out in the daylight, he looks around to see what's going on.,” Gladney said. “By the time I turned him around and he started jogging, he saw the crowd. He knows this is business. He loves the show.”
'Breakfast at Gulfstream' was scheduled for an early start at 7:00 a.m. this Saturday only to mark the occasion and provide attendees with the opportunity to watch North America's richest thoroughbred prepare for a highly anticipated start in the world's richest race.
California Chrome arrived at Gulfstream Park from his Southern California base Friday, Jan. 6 and had been jogging and galloping over the Gulfstream Park track since Sunday, Jan. 8. The son of Lucky Pulpit is scheduled to be given his final tune-up for the Pegasus World Cup next Saturday morning, when Art Sherman is scheduled to be on hand prior to attending the Eclipse Award Dinner that evening.
California Chrome is a finalist for the 2016 Horse of the Year title, as is Arrogate, who narrowly defeated him in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 5 and is also scheduled to compete in the Pegasus World Cup.
James McIngvale's Eragon, the multiple Group 1 winner in Argentina who is slated to make his first U. S. start in the Pegasus World Cup, took to the Gulfstream track just ahead of California Chrome for his first local workout. The 6-year-old was credited by the clockers with a four-furlong breeze in 49 4/5 seconds, although trainer Laura Wohlers viewed the morning exercise as “an easy seven-eighths.”
“He started little slow in the first part but picked it up from the quarter-pole to the wire with a nice kick,” jockey Edgar Prado said. “He galloped out good and came home good.”
Eragon spent 2 ½ weeks in quarantine in Miami before arriving at Gulfstream Park Jan. 5.
“I thought he worked fine. He hadn't worked in a long time – since Dec. 17 in Argentina. He worked an easy seven-eighths. Today was the fastest he's gone in a month – since being stuck in quarantine,” Wohlers said. “I'm happy with it and he seems to be cooling out good. He was blowing a little bit, but he caught his breath back pretty quick.”
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