California Chrome was anointed ‘America’s Horse” by co-owner Steve Coburn shortly after winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last year, and it was hard to argue with that moniker after the colt won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
However, a lot has transpired since the colt left Baltimore, including winning just one of his next six starts while American Pharoah replaced California Chrome as “America’s Horse” by becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades.
Heck, he even has “American” in his name.
Actually, the true “America’s Horse” early this year was the Jim Rome owned Shared Belief. The gelding started 2015 by winning the San Antonio Invitational (G2) and the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), improving his career mark to 10 wins in 11 starts. The lone blemish was his fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) where he was wiped out at the break.
It looked as if nothing could stop the Clones, but the gelding stumbled coming out of the gate in the Charles Town Classic (G2) suffering a stifle injury and he was vanned off the track.
Just a couple of weeks later American Pharoah won the Run for the Roses, and made history five weeks later in the Belmont Stakes.
Meanwhile California Chrome ran a solid second in the Dubai World Cup (G1) in March, and co-owner Perry Martin elected to keep the colt overseas and point him toward Royal Ascot.
The first target was the Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury in May, but he had not sufficiently recovered from his Dubai run, and the colt was pointed instead toward the Prince of Wales (G1) at Royal Ascot, an ambitious spot on turf here he was at early odds of 10-1.
A foot abscess discovered on Monday knocked him out of the race, and his next start is up in the air. His connections have mentioned a possible start in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (G1) at Sandown Park on July 4.
Another race under consideration is the Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington Park on Aug. 15. The colt has a Grade 1 turf win, taking the Hollywood Derby last November.
It’s kind of tough to figure out who exactly is calling the shots in the California Chrome camp. Sherman did not seem very enthusiastic about shipping the colt to Dubai or keeping him overseas.
It is time to scrap the overseas plan. Beating Group 1 runners on their home turf is no easy task.
Let’s bring the colt home and point him toward another try in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where last year the colt checked in third.
The colt is currently at early betting odds for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 9-1 at Bovada. American Pharoah is the favorite at 3-2.
While a run in the Arlington Million would be interesting to see, let’s run him in the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 22. Or how about the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 8 on national television?
Then his final prep can come in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) on Oct. 3, again on national television on NBC.
That would set him up nicely for another shot in the Classic, where if all goes well he will face off with American Pharoah, with the title of “American’s Horse” clearly up for grabs.