The 2014 campaign of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome still has one chapter to write, as the colt will look to win his fourth Grade 1 win of the year in next Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1). The race will be his first start on turf.
The colt had his first work over the turf at Del Mar on Sunday morning, going four furlongs in 52 seconds without being asked for much. The colt seemed a bit tentative and distracted in his first trip over the grass.
His regular rider Victor Espinoza was aboard for the morning drill, which the colt did solo and without blinkers.
Trainer Art Sherman said he was satisfied with the work and said he would bring the colt back to gallop down the stretch of the turf on Thursday to give him another look at the turf course.
“I was satisfied with the work,” Sherman said in the post work press conference. “Of course he was pricking his ears around there. Victor says he didn’t know if he was going to work or gallop.”
“He said he felt smooth underneath him and that was my main concern,” Sherman added.
California Chrome turf work:
The Hollywood Derby field is expected to include Flamboyant, Home Run Kitten, Lexie Lou, Sawyer’s Hill and Talco. Entries will be taken on Wednesday. Lexie Lou, who won the Queen’s Plate, is a filly. She won the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) in her last outing on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita.
A victory would give the colt a fourth Grade 1 win to go along with the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The colt also won the ungraded California Cup Derby and the San Felipe (G2). His two losses were a fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and a neck loss when third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
Classic winner Bayern won six of his 10 starts, but just two Grade 1 wins. He took the Haskell Invitational in July at Monmouth Park. He did beat California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and the Classic.
Main Sequence has four Grade 1 wins in 2014, all on turf. Wise Dan took down Horse of the Year honors the past two years as primarily a turf horse.
A victory in the Hollywood Derby would likely garner California Chrome a few more votes for top honors.
Missing the Jackpot at Delta Downs
My top pick in Saturday’s $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) was Far Right, who drifted up to 23-1 when the left the gate. Early in the race, he was so far back under jockey Corey Lanerie I thought something was amiss.
Then Lanerie shot the colt up the inside with a swift move, picking off horses as if he was 1-9. The only problem was eventual winner Ocho Ocho Ocho was on the rail and Lanerie had to slam on the brakes when there was no room to squeeze through the rail.
The colt gathered his momentum back but it was too late as the winner and Mr. Z battled on to the wire while our top pick had to settle for third.
Lanerie lodged an objection against the winner and there was a steward’s inquiry, but no change.
As a horseplayer backing a 23-1 longshot that looked best, I would have liked to lodge an objection against Lanerie’s ride. It was terrible.
2014 Delta Downs Jackpot
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