ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2016) -- He had new co-owners and new silks, but California Chrome got his old mojo back Jan. 9 with a powerful victory in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park, his first start off a nine-month layoff.
After breaking like a shot from post 4 under regular rider Victor Espinoza and rating second off the outside flank of pacesetter Alfa Bird, the 2014 Horse of the Year hit the final turn full of run and drew off to win with ease. Imperative closed to get second, and Hoppertunity rallied for third.
The 1 1/16-mile test, run in a final time of 1:43.39, was California Chrome's first start for trainer Art Sherman since a runner-up finish in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) last March, and his first for a new partnership that includes co-breeder Perry Martin and Kentucky-based Taylor Made Farm, where he will stand upon retirement following this, his 5-year-old season.
"I think you're going to see a whole new horse this year; I've never seen him train the way he is now," Sherman said. "You can look at him in the paddock and he's a man among men. I'm looking for 2016 to be a great year."
California Chrome counts the 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) among his 10 victories from 19 starts. The 3-5 favorite in a field of seven, he paid $3.20, $2.40, and $2.10.
"We have the greatest fans ever with California Chrome, and I'm proud to be among them," Sherman said.