California Chrome could race once before Pegasus

DEL MAR, Calif. -- It wasn't long after California Chrome worked Saturday morning at Los Alamitos that trainer Art Sherman's phone rang at Del Mar. His son, Alan, was quite excited on the other end.

"He called right after the work," said Sherman, who was looking after the horses he has stabled here at Del Mar. "He said he went really well."

California Chrome, just 14 days after his runner-up effort behind Arrogate in the Breeders' Cup Classic, worked a half-mile on Saturday, officially in 48.40 seconds. Russell Hudak, the head clocker at Los Alamitos, had California Chrome going his opening quarter in 25.20 seconds, and three furlongs in 36.80 seconds, meaning he finished his final quarter in 23.20 seconds, and final eighth in 11.60 seconds. As usual, exercise rider Dihigi Gladney was aboard.

"Everything went great," Alan Sherman said by telephone. "He finished up really well."

Art Sherman usually doesn't miss any of California Chrome's works. But he had a cataract removed from his right eye on Tuesday, and thought driving up to Los Alamitos from his home in Rancho Bernardo -- which is much closer to Del Mar -- wasn't prudent quite yet. Sherman said he would be at Los Alamitos for California Chrome's next workout, next Saturday.

California Chrome is scheduled to make his final start in the $12 million Pegasus at Gulfstream on Jan. 28 before going to stud at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky.

Sherman said he hopes to get California Chrome a prep race before that, and has spoken to Ed Allred -- owner of Los Alamitos -- about putting on a race Dec. 17, closing weekend of that track's upcoming two-week Thoroughbred meet.

Sherman has a direct pipeline to Allred, since he trains horses for Allred.

"Instead of having to keep working [California Chrome] and working him, I'd love to run him, and December 17 would be perfect timing," Sherman said. "They're gonna try to make it happen."

California Chrome has been stabled at Los Alamitos for three years; Sherman said he'd like to run the horse once there.

"For the people at Los Alamitos, the people in Cypress and Orange County, I think they'd love to see him," Sherman said. "It's the home of the Chrome."

If California Chrome does run at Los Alamitos, Sherman said, he would plan on going to Gulfstream Park about 10 days prior to the Pegasus. The Eclipse Awards are at Gulfstream on Jan. 21, and California Chrome is a cinch to be named champion older male horse on dirt, and is the front-runner for Horse of the Year.

"We'd go in and gallop, school him in the paddock, maybe blow him out the middle of the week," Sherman said.