2014 Horse of the Year and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome took to Gulfstream Park’s fast main track on Saturday to breeze five furlongs in 1:00.72 ahead of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) on January 28.
The Art Sherman-trained six-year-old drew a crowd for his first official move at Gulfstream. Regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney was aboard as California Chrome galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20.
“This horse has a lot of supporters. I looked out there before the track closed for the break and I saw the people piling in. I said, ‘Look at this.’ The Chrome Community is strong everywhere,” Gladney said. “They love this horse everywhere we go.
“He’s been training early in the morning (before dawn), but he’s the type of horse when you take him out in the daylight, he looks around to see what’s going on,” Gladney added. “By the time I turned him around and he started jogging, he saw the crowd. He knows this is business. He loves the show.”
The move pleased assistant trainer Alan Sherman, who has been overseeing California Chrome at Gulfstream.
“I’m really happy with that work. The track was a little deep, and he covered the ground well. I couldn’t be happier with him,” he said. “He just goes about his business. He loves to train.”
California Chrome wasn’t the only Pegasus World Cup hopeful on track Saturday.
Multiple Group 1 scorer Eragon also took a spin around the Hallandale Beach, Florida, venue. The six-year-old bay was given an official clocking of :49.93 for a half-mile breeze under jockey Edgar Prado, but trainer Laura Wohlers said the move was actually “an easy seven-eighths.”
“He started little slow in the first part but picked it up from the quarter-pole to the wire with a nice kick,” Prado said. “He galloped out good and came home good.”
Eragon shipped in from his native Argentina and had to spend 2 1/2 weeks in quarantine before finally arriving at Gulfstream on January 5.
“I thought he worked fine,” Wohlers said. “He hadn’t worked in a long time – since December 17 in Argentina. He worked an easy seven-eighths. Today was the fastest he’s gone in a month – since being stuck in quarantine.
“I’m happy with it and he seems to be cooling out good. He was blowing a little bit, but he caught his breath back pretty quick.”