California Chrome Wins World Cup Prep

Chromies of the world, rejoice — our boy still has it. Watch the replay of today’s race at Meydan!

After California Chrome blasted through the San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita in January, it was clear to the world that despite a series of setbacks in his four-year-old season, Chrome still had a few moves left in him. Team Chrome shipped off around the world to Dubai, seeking the biggest purse in the Dubai World Cup which had evaded the horse’s grasp in early 2015.

And this time, California Chrome seems to be leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s a bigger, badder version of his former self: while an abscess and bone bruising may have taken him out of contention for big titles in 2015, the big colt has clearly matured in his months of recuperation. He’s all filled-out muscle, and as he strutted around the paddock before the start of today’s Trans Gulf Electromechanical Trophy Handicap, it was clear that he was the horse to watch. (The race took place at 12:55 Eastern time, 9:55 in the evening in Dubai.)

Beautiful trip: nothing like watching this big chestnut just lope home under a hand ride. I don’t think Victor Espinoza even moved during the entire race, gate to wire!

Now, in the defense of the rest of the field, this wasn’t exactly a race stacked with tough competition — but Team Chrome treated this race as a final big prep, a good place to sharpen him up for the biggest challenge of them all: the Dubai World Cup.

As you might recall, Chrome gave the World Cup his all in early 2015, falling just a little bit short after a trans-Atlantic flight from the other side of the world. But after watching the above race, I have to believe that this time he’s as ready as he’ll ever be, poised to become the richest racehorse in the world.

The 2016 World Cup on March 26 will certainly be a more challenging field: traditionally attracting the world’s best racehorses for an incredible $10 million purse, we already know that 2015’s three-year-old stars Frosted and Keen Ice are planning to run. Both colts have been training at Meydan, with Frosted already winning a Grade II in early February. Trainer Todd Pletcher has also mentioned that Donn Handicap winner Mshawish will be making a bid, and there’s always a strong representation from racing nations all over the world.

We’ll be sure to bring you coverage of the Dubai World Cup as the fateful day draws closer, so keep it locked here on Horse Nation! Go Chrome, and go riding!

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