California Chrome sizzles in final workout before Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- With the richest, and last, race of California Chrome's career a week away in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup here at Gulfstream Park, trainer Art Sherman and his son and assistant, Alan, were so focused on that goal that the fact California Chrome recorded the final workout of his career on Saturday morning didn't fully hit them.

Though Alan Sherman said he thought a bit about it Friday night -- "It is weird," he said -- the upcoming week had him energized.

"We could win two Eclipse Awards and a $12 million race in a week," he said.

For Art Sherman, "It hasn't registered yet," he said. "It will after the race -- this is it, guys."

California Chrome looked as good as ever in that final workout, effortlessly flying through five furlongs in 58.91 seconds, and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.41, according to Daily Racing Form's Mike Welsch. From the quarter pole to the wire, California Chrome went in 23.79 seconds on Welsch's watch. The final time was the second-fastest of 48 at the distance here on Saturday.

"I thought he worked sensational. He was on cruise control," said Art Sherman, who before the work said he was looking for California Chrome to go in a minute, and out six furlongs in 1:13. "He's ready."

California Chrome, like one week ago, was allowed to have the track to himself at 7:30 a.m. immediately after the renovation break. A large crowd turned out to watch California Chrome work, including Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, in town because Songbird on Saturday night at the Eclipse Awards was the overwhelming favorite to be named the champion 3-year-old filly of 2016.

When Alan Sherman went up a staircase to get a better view of the track, he saw Hollendorfer and joked, "C'mon, Jerry, I'll show you how to train a horse."

Exercise rider Dihigi Gladney jogged and galloped California Chrome through the stretch and around the first turn before breaking off at the five-furlong pole. As California Chrome galloped out, Alan Sherman said, "He looked great."

Both Art and Alan Sherman said they were happy California Chrome had traveled to Gulfstream well in advance of the Pegasus.

"I'm really glad we came here early, with all the weather they've had in California," Alan Sherman said.

"He's been going steady. We haven't missed a beat," Art Sherman said.

The Pegasus is expected to have a field of 12, headed by California Chrome and Arrogate. Posts will be drawn 5 p.m. Monday at Gulfstream Park. Both California Chrome (older dirt male) and Arrogate (3-year-old male) were heavy favorites to win divisional Eclipse Awards on Saturday night. Both were finalists for Horse of the Year, for which California Chrome was favored.

Also Saturday at Gulfstream, Prayer for Relief went five furlongs in 1:00.81 for the Pegasus, and at Palm Meadows, Noble Bird worked a half-mile in 49.75 seconds.

And at Palm Beach Downs, trainer Todd Pletcher sent Keen Ice (:48.60) and Neolithic (:50.20) through half-mile drills.

Play the Pegasus World Cup Invitaional with DRF