Six rivals were entered Wednesday to take on California Chrome in Saturday’s $ 200,000 Grade II San Diego Handicap.
With the draw for post positions scheduled early Wednesday afternoon, Del Mar racing office stakes coordinator Chris Merz listed the following horses (in alphabetical order) as having entered:
California Chrome, Crittenden, Dortmund, Follow Me Crev, Hard Aces, Soi Phet and Win The Space.
Hard Aces and Soi Phet are nominated for Sunday’s $ 100,000 Grade III Cougar II Handicap should their connections choose to exercise that option. John Sadler, trainer of Hard Aces, said Wednesday that he is “leaning more towards Saturday (San Diego Handicap) right now.”
A quick look at the possible Chrome challengers:
Crittenden, a 4-year-old Distorted Humor gelding owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Eoin Harty, enters off a runner-up finish on the Northern California fair circuit. His career record of 15 4-2-1 with earnings of $ 183,340 includes a victory in the Let It Ride stakes here last October.
Dortmund has been off since winning the Grade III Native Diver here last November 28. The 4-year-old Big Brown colt owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Bob Baffert won the Santa Anita Derby and was third to stablemate American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby in compiling earnings of more than $ 1.3 million as a 3-year-old en route to his current $ 1,712,480.
Follow Me Crev, a 4-year-old Quality Road gelding trained by Vladimir Cerin for Holly and David Wilson, had a four-race winning streak – started here last fall – snapped with a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Californian on May 22 at Santa Anita.
Hard Aces, a 6-year-old son of Hard Spun, is winless since the 2015 Gold Cup at Santa Anita but comes in off a runner-up to Second Summer in the Californian and third behind Melatonin in the Gold Cup title defense on June 25. Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC, Hard Aces is slightly more than $ 60,000 away from becoming a $ 1 million earner.
Soi Phet, an 8-year-old Tizbud gelding trained and partly owned by Leonard Powell, comes in off a victory in the McCann’s Mojave Stakes at Santa Anita on June 26 and has three wins in seven career starts at Del Mar.
Win the Space, a 4-year-old Pulpit colt trained by George Papaprodromou for Kretz Racing LLC, was second in the Gold Cup following an allowance level victory in his 2016 debut. Win the Space broke his maiden here in his sixth career start in August of last year.
California Chrome continued his training routine Wednesday morning, “schooling” in the paddock and standing in the gate before his morning jog around the track.
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