CalChrome is making his first racing appearance since his failed attempt at the Triple Crown this Saturday for the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby.
America’s favorite racehorse is returning to the track this weekend for the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, adding some star power to what’s already going to be a huge weekend at Parx Racing outside of Philadelphia. On the card is both the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby as well as the Grade I $1 million Cotillion for fillies. Parx looks to be drawing one of the biggest crowds ever as it hosts a Kentucky Derby winner for the first time, aided in part by a $100,000 bonus for each owner just for California Chrome to start.
While California Chrome has fallen off the radar a little bit this summer after his heartbreaking fourth place dead-heat in the Belmont Stakes in June, the colt has been using his R&R wisely. Chrome has put back on the weight he had dropped in the grueling Triple Crown chase and recovered from his grabbed quarter out of the gate at the Belmont. When the colt returned to his old stall at Los Alamitos for training, crowds gathered just to watch his workouts, showing that the “Chromies” still have faith in their horse.
California Chrome is flying cross-country to Philadelphia on Tuesday with plans to work the Parx track later in the week in preparation for Saturday’s race. He’s drawn the rail and was listed on Monday as the even-money favorite. However, it’s not going to be a casual breeze to the winner’s circle: Bayern, who hasn’t seen Chrome since the Preakness, is coming off of wins in the Grade II Woody Stephens and Grade I Haskell (as well as a last-place finish in the Grade I Travers, but he seems to be in better form now.) Tapiture should also not be discounted with two wins in Grade III and Grade II races since his 15th place finish in the Derby.
Art Sherman is hopeful that a win in the Pennsylvania Derby will prepare the colt to take on the Breeders Cup Classic. While Sherman remains optimistic, he’s also nervously curious to see how California Chrome competes after coming off of the first real rest of his career. I think most of the nation is hopeful that Chrome is rested, ready and ravenous again for the winner’s circle. Time will tell.
Here’s a video of California Chrome’s last workout at Los Alamitos before traveling to Pennsylvania, including interviews with Art Sherman and some helmet-cam footage from his workout rider: