Photo: Benoit Photo
California Chrome polished
off his competition in the San Felipe Stakes
(G-2) last Saturday. After breaking
sharply and quickly grabbing the rail position, the Art Sherman
trainee dueled with Midnight Hawk
through fractions of :23, :45.55 and
1:09.94. After athletically hugging the rail at the top of the stretch, the
chestnut colt received a light tap from jockey Victor Espinoza
and quickly opened up 4 ½ lengths on Midnight Hawk. California Chrome breezed under the wire by 7
¼ lengths. Midnight Hawk settled for
second place, 6 ¼ lengths in front of late-running Kristo.
The odds on favorite stopped the clock in in 1:40.59
for 1 1/16 miles. His final time was a
blink off of the 1:40.11 stakes record set by Consolidator in 2005 and the
track record of 1:39.18 set by Efervescente in 1993. California Chrome earned 50 points for his
victory in the San Felipe and is in a three-way tied for third in the Kentucky
Derby points standings with Wildcat Red and Ring Weekend. California Chrome has a 9-5-1-0 ($534,850)
CHROME (Lucky Pulpit - Love the Chase, by Not For Love) is a
homebred raced by Martin Perry and Steve Coburn. California Chrome’s sire Lucky
Pulpit spent the first half of his four year racing career in Southern
California. After winning a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint maiden in early July, the son
of Pulpit placed in the Generous (G-3) and Santa Catalina Stakes (G-2).
Traveling east for the remainder of his career, Lucky Pulpit won the Smile
Stakes (turf sprint) at Arlington and placed in two listed stakes. Primarily a
turf sprint specialist, Lucky Pulpit won or placed in three of four dirt sprints
and finished second at a mile over the turf.
He retired to stud in California with a 22-3-5-5 ($209,928) race record.
As a California sire,
Lucky Pulpit gets mainly sprinter/milers over all surfaces and many are
precocious types. None of his offspring have
won beyond 1 1/16 miles, although his sons Rousing Sermon and Woodman’s Luck placed
in stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Rousing Sermon
was third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, finished fifth in the San Felipe, and
was third in the Louisiana Derby leading up to his eighth place finish in the 2012
Love the Chase won
a maiden claimer going a mile at Golden Gate, which was the only time she hit
the board in six lifetime starts. We have to go back three generations to find
blacktype in this distaff line. Talent
skipping a generation isn’t uncommon.
California Chrome’s dam has a nice pedigree. She has a Rasmussen Factor
inbreeding (inbred to a superior mare within four generations) to Champion
Numbered Account through her son Polish Numbers (by Danzig) and his ¾ sister Dance
Number (by Northern Dancer) the dam of Not For Love.
California Chrome’s third
dam Chase the Dream (by Sir Ivor) was a stakes winning miler. She bore one
stakes winner, Amourette (by El Gran Senor) who produced three stakes runners.
We have to go back to California Chrome’s fifth generation to find any notable
Love the Chase is a young
broodmare and California Chrome is her first foal. She bore two full sisters to the stakes
winner; one in last year and one this year.
Not For Love (Mr.
Prospector - Dance Number, by Northern Dancer) won from six furlongs to 1 3/16
miles. He was proficient over dirt, mud and the lawn. He was a solid allowance
class runner and placed once in a listed stakes while racking up a 27-6-7-5 ($178,870)
The well-bred stallion has
been a Maryland fixture for over a decade. Although he’s now 24 years old, the
son of Mr. Prospector is still siring solid, capable runners. The old timer was
leading sire by earnings in 2003 – 2006.
Not For Love is also a solid broodmare sire. Although his daughters have
borne over 230 winners, few are stakes winners, and only one (Starship
Truffles) is a Grade 1 winner, and while they’ve placed in stakes races at 1
1/8 miles and beyond, only one is a stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles and none have
won a stakes at classic distances.
California Chrome’s second
damsire Polish Numbers (Danzig - Numbered Account, by Buckpasser) was a very
well-bred colt but failed to win a stakes race. He did set a 6 1/2-furlong
track record of 1:14.60 at Belmont in 1991. The sprinter produced only eight
racing crops, but was among the top sires in Maryland at the time of his death
in 2011. As a broodmare sire, Polish
Numbers is represented by 25 stakes winners. Two, Silver Whistle (by Alphabet
Soup) and Spring of Fame (by Grand Slam) are winners at classic distances, both
over the lawn.
California Chrome is powerfully
built. He’s an athletic colt with a quick, smooth leg action and no wasted
motion. The chestnut colt resembles his sire, with a short, muscular neck and a
slightly upright shoulder nicely balanced by large, well-formed
hindquarters. A winner from 4 ½ furlongs
to 1 1/16 miles, California Chrome has totally dominated his last three races
by a combined 19 lengths. He’s the fastest colt in training in California right
now and California Chrome could simply dominate the rest of the California
stakes races. However, California Chrome’s
pedigree and physical stature indicate that he’ll be hitting a wall at 1 1/8
miles against top company and the 1 ¼ mile 2014 Kentucky Derby will be out of his
photo of California Chrome courtesy of assistant trainer Alan Sherman.