California Chrome: was an impressive winner of the Dubai World Cup
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Nicholas Godfrey 11:38AM 22 JUL 2016
Preview: USA, Saturday 2.10am (Sun) BST
Del Mar: San Diego Hcap (Grade 2) 1m1/2f, dirt, 3yo+
NEARLY four months after his brilliant victory in the Dubai World Cup, California Chrome (Art Sherman/Victor Espinoza) faces a potential tricky task on his return to action in his home state in the San Diego Handicap, this weekend’s highlight at Del Mar.
Not only is California Chrome returning after a layoff at a trip arguably short of his optimum these days, but the enduringly popular five-year-old must concede weight all round in this $ 200,000 contest, a designated prep race for Del Mar’s signature race, the $ 1 million Pacific Classic.
What is more, California Chrome’s six rivals are headed by a pair of fellow Grade 1 winners, notably last year’s Kentucky Derby third Dortmund, who gets 5lb.
The favourite’s trainer Art Sherman reports California Chrome to have pleased him in training since his return from Dubai, where he smashed Mubtaahij by nearly four lengths in a bravura peformance.
“He’s doing great – schooling great, galloping great,” said Sherman, whose representative breaks from gate six. “I like the draw, outside is good for me. He will be able to break and see what’s happening to his inside and go from there. Dortmund has speed and will probably go to the front. We should be able to get a good stalking position and sit second.”
Though he has won on both turf and Polytrack at Del Mar, California Chrome has never raced there on dirt – unlike Dortmund (Bob Baffert/Gary Stevens), runaway winner of the Native Diver at the track in November.
Likely front-runner Dortmund starts from gate two, one outside Hard Aces (John Sadler/Santiago Gonzalez), winner of last year’s (Hollywood) Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
Ladbrokes: 1-2 California Chrome, 5-2 Dortmund, 12 Win The Space, 20 Hard Aces, 33 Soi Phet, 50 Follow Me Crev, 66 Crittenden
Also on Saturday
Saratoga: Diana Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f, turf, 4yo+ f/m (11.18pm BST)
Miss Temple City (Graham Motion/Drayden van Dyke), who ran well to finish fourth in the Duke of Cambridge at Royal Ascot, makes a quick return to Stateside action as she bids for the second Grade 1 success of her career in this $ 500,000 contest.
Top turf trainer sends four into battle against the favourite headed by Wekeela (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano), runner-up in a pair of Grade 1s on her two most recent outings. Dual Chilean champion Dacita (Irad Ortiz) also features for Brown alongsideMrs McDougal (Joel Rosario) and Rainha Da Bateria (Julien Leparoux), both Graded winners at a lower level.
Ladbrokes: 5-2 Miss Temple City, 9-2 Wekeela, 5 Dacita, 8 Isabella Sings, Onus, Recepta, 12 Mrs McDougal, Sandiva, 20 Rainha Da Bateria, 25 Strike Charmer