Champions California Chrome and Arrogate took to Gulfstream Park’s main track for a jog on Wednesday as they continue gearing up for Saturday’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1).
California Chrome, who was honored as the 2016 Horse of the Year on Saturday at the Eclipse Awards ceremony, galloped before 6 a.m. (ET) with regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney aboard. The six-year-old chestnut then stopped by the paddock and walking ring before returning to the barn.
“I thought he went great. He looked like he was moving very easily and Dihigi said he felt great, so that’s always super after he comes back and cools out,” trainer Art Sherman said. “It was a great morning. He schooled very well in the paddock.
“It’s kind of a little more narrow paddock. Regular paddocks have a little bit more room, but it was very nice,” he added. “We had a good time walking around the walking ring and the horse, nothing bothers him. You don’t have to worry about that. He’s pretty professional in anything he does.”
California Chrome is scheduled to visit the starting gate Thursday morning.
“He knows that’s going to be his cue,” Sherman said. “That’s the pattern we have with him, go to the paddock, go to the gate. Then he knows that he’s getting ready to run. He’s a pretty smart horse.”
Following the Pegasus, California Chrome will begin his stud career at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Kentucky.
“We’ve only got a few more mornings to do what we’re doing, so we’re going to take advantage of it,” Sherman said. “Look at him, he’s loving it. He’s really something. Most horses don’t like all these cameras but he’s a ham. If you’ve got a camera next to him he’s going to show off.
“After the race we’re going to say, hey, listen, it’s no more, we’re done,” he added. “We’ve had him for three years and it’s been great. We really appreciate everything, all the people and what he’s done. It’s been one hell of a ride.”
Nearly two hours after California Chrome was on track, rival Arrogate took a spin around the oval under exercise rider Dana Barnes. The Unbridled’s Song four-year-old arrived at Gulfstream on Tuesday and galloped 1 1/2 miles in his first foray over the track.
“First day out there, we went a little bit earlier. I was planning on going a little bit later but he was anxious and I wanted to get him out and get him on the track,” said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. “We couldn’t be happier with the way he went over the track. It’s a bigger track, a sandy track, mile and an eighth track, but he handled it well.”
“I think what makes him so good is that he’s such an efficient mover. (Triple Crown champion) American Pharoah was almost the same way. He just moved so fluently. He carries himself so well over a surface, I think that’s what makes him so great,” Barnes said. “His weight’s good and I think he’s grown maybe an inch since (last summer). We couldn’t be happier.”
“We’ll let him relax today and we’ll probably school tomorrow, get him over to the paddock,” Barnes added. “He’s usually just a one-time schooler, let him get a look at everything, just kind of a formality and we should be in good shape.”
Shaman Ghost and Eragon also stretched their legs on Wednesday at Gulfstream ahead of the Pegasus World Cup.