Art Sherman said there was “a chance” that California Chrome could run in the Santa Derby on April 5, but any firm plans for the California-bred colt’s next race were still undetermined as of Sunday morning.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Alex Evers
“We’re playing it by ear with him,” the trainer said of the streaking stakes winner, who has captured his last three added-money events by a combined margin of 19 lengths, most recently the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on March 8, which earned the son of Lucky Pulpit 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on May 3.
“The horse is doing well,” Sherman said. “He galloped this morning (at his Los Alamitos headquarters). Let’s say he’s on the Derby trail and there’s a chance he could run in the Santa Anita Derby.”
Without a race between the San Felipe and the Run for the Roses, California Chrome would have gone nearly two months without running prior to the Churchill Downs classic.
“We’ll wait and see how the horse is doing,” Sherman said.
In other Triple Crown news:
Meanwhile, trainer John Sadler was back on the beat on a warm-and-getting-warmer Sunday morning at Santa Anita after a disappointing trip to Arkansas yesterday where San Vicente Stakes winner Kobe’s Back finished seventh of eight, beaten 28 lengths, in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
“He wasn’t really ready for the start, he ducked out on the first turn, and after that it got worse,” Sadler said in succinct candor, explaining the debacle.
Sadler said Kobe’s Back was due to return to California today, but had “no plans at this point. We’ll have to see how he comes back.”
The Grade II Rebel was won by the Bob Baffert-trained Hoppertunity under Mike Smith, who at the moment appears to be in an enviable position when it comes to potential Kentucky Derby mounts.
The Hall of Fame jockey rode Intense Holiday to victory in the Risen Star on Feb. 22 and next Sunday pilots Midnight Hawk for Baffert in the Grade III Sunland Derby, where Martin Garcia rides Chitu for Baffert in the race that offers $800,000 in purse money.
Ponito M., champion colt at age two and three in Puerto Rico, arrived at Santa Anita Friday for a 3-year-old campaign under the direction of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Owned by Mickey Gonzales’ M Racing Stable, the son of Rock Hard Ten has won six of seven starts in Puerto Rico and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mister Frisky and Bold Forbes, who invaded from the Island Nation to make their marks in the 3-year-old classics.