California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza
By Tony McFadden 8:00AM 28 SEP 2016
CALIFORNIA CHROME, regarded by many as the best horse in the world, will make his final start before November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic when he competes in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, run over nine furlongs, at Santa Anita on Saturday.
California Chrome will bag connections a $ 1million bonus should he win both the Awesome Again and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, having already claimed the first leg of the treble, the Pacific Classic, in sensational style last month.
“A million dollars is a million dollars, but if the horse wasn’t training right, we wouldn’t be running,” California-based trainer Art Sherman told the Blood Horse.
“To me, it’s just perfect timing at this stage to have these preps here for the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Breeders’ Cup Classic, which takes place on November 5, is set to be staged at Santa Anita and Sherman believes that California Chrome can benefit from home advantage.
“I think it’s a big advantage not having to travel. Any time you have to go across the country from hot weather to cold weather, it can be difficult,” Sherman added.
“It means a lot to be able to train over the surface like we do. I think we’re at an advantage being in California going into these races.”
A winner of two legs of the American Triple Crown in 2014, California Chrome had already established himself as a top-class racehorse but his latest performance in the Pacific Classic was his best yet, as he beat multiple Grade 1 winner Beholder by five lengths.
California Chrome is the general 11-8 favourite to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, while wide-margin Travers Stakes hero Arrogate is a top price of 3-1. Frosted, a stunning 14-length winner of the Met Mile, is next in the market at 10-1.