USA: Chrome warms up for Pegasus World Cup with easy win
California Chrome: on course for the Pegasus World Cup
PICTURE: Benoit Chrome warms up for Pegasus with easy win By Tony McFadden 8:01AM 18 DEC 2016
Report: USA, Saturday
Los Alamitos: Winter Challenge (ungraded) 1m½f | dirt | 3yo+
CALIFORNIA CHROME (Art Sherman/Victor Espinoza) warmed up for a potential rematch with Arrogate in the best possible style when breaking the track record in the Winter Challenge at Los Alamitos.
The seven-time Grade 1 winner, who has accrued more than £9 million in prize-money, ran arguably the race of his life when headed close home by Arrogate in a thrilling Breeders' Cup Classic, and the prospect of the two meeting again in the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park next month has racing fans drooling.
Arrogate has yet to be confirmed for that $12 million contest but California Chrome showed he is right on track for the world's richest horse race with a commanding win against inferior opponents in this specially-prepared contest at his home track.
Breaking widest of all in the ten-runner field, 1-9 favourite California Chrome was initially settled in fourth before being allowed to stride on down the back stretch. He cruised up into a share of the lead on the swing for home and effortlessly bounded clear down the straight to win by 12 lengths under a motionless Victor Espinoza.
"He felt strong – super strong today," Espinoza said. "I know the competition wasn't that great, but for me, the most important thing was how he felt physically."
Trainer Art Sherman is not concerned about the prospect of meeting Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup in what is likely to be California Chrome's last race before being retired.
Sherman said: "I'm ready. I'm going to be chomping at the bit. I think you're going to see a hell of a race. I really do."