California Chrome to fly home Thursday

California Chrome had a quiet Sunday at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates a day after his dramatic win in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father, trainer Art Sherman, said in an email that California Chrome “came out of his race great.”

California Chrome won the Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles on dirt by 3 3/4 lengths in a stellar field. He won even though his saddle slipped, creating an awkward situation for jockey Victor Espinoza and causing concern for his backers in the stretch. The saddle was visibly farther down California Chrome’s back when he reached the wire than it was at the start.

The win was worth $6 million for owners Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farms, who race as California Chrome LLC. The 2014 Horse of the Year, California Chrome has won 12 of 21 starts and earned $12,532,650, a record for a North American-based Thoroughbred.

Curlin, the Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008, earned $10,501,800. He won the Dubai World Cup in 2008 when the race was worth $6 million.

Sherman said that California Chrome walked on Sunday and will do so on a daily basis until he is flown to Chicago on Thursday. California Chrome will undergo quarantine in Chicago before being shipped to Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky for a rest of three to four weeks, Sherman said.

At the end of April, California Chrome will be flown to California and will rejoin the Sherman stable at Los Alamitos. The 5-year-old is not expected to resume racing until late summer, possibly in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 20 at Del Mar.

The main goal in the second half of 2016 is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. On Sunday morning, California Chrome was as low as 4-1 with some British bookmakers to win the BC Classic.

His performance in the Dubai World Cup puts California Chrome firmly at the top of the world’s older male division on dirt. Racing wide throughout, California Chrome swept to the lead with more than a quarter-mile remaining under a confident ride from Espinoza.

“I was a little concerned about being so wide, but I knew he was dead fit,” Alan Sherman said.

Alan Sherman traveled to Dubai in late January when California Chrome was sent there, and oversaw the horse’s day-to-day training for two months. California Chrome won his 2016 debut in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 9 and had a prep race in Dubai in a $150,000 handicap at 1 1/4 miles on Feb. 26, beating an overmatched group by two lengths.

He had a similar trip against a much-better group in the Dubai World Cup, a performance that rates alongside the 2014 Kentucky Derby as one of the finest wins of his career.

Tom Franklin is a senior contributor at US Racing.
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