California Chrome confidence overwhelms fears

  • Article by: ALICIA WINCZE HUGHES , Lexington Herald-Leader
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 11:55 PM

The trainer of the Preakness favorite worries about the timing, but he and others see a horse unlikely to lose.

For a man who is about to do something he says worries him with a horse that is under the hottest of spotlights, trainer Art Sherman carried a peaceful air of confidence Friday morning.

The 77-year-old Sherman is not used to running a horse after only two weeks of rest. Experience tells him it takes longer for a horse to fully bounce out of a race.

However, when you condition the Kentucky Derby winner, bypassing the second leg of the Triple Crown 14 days later just isn’t a popular option barring ailment or injury.

And since nothing California Chrome has done the past six months remotely resembles the actions of an ordinary horse, Sherman is taking a cue from his charge and outwardly handling the challenges of the moment with ease.

“I’m not worried [about the other contenders],” Sherman said during a rain-drenched morning at Pimlico Race Course on Friday. “I think they have to worry about me.”

There are circumstances that could take down Kentucky Derby hero California Chrome in Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes: a lousy break out of post position No. 3, a suicidal pace he hooks into, or a set of legs simply better than his.

Many of California Chrome’s nine challengers in the 13/16-mile classic concur that if the horse who has won five straight races by a combined 26 lengths since December shows his normal self, even their horses’ best day might only be good enough for second place.

“I’m confident in my horse. I think he’s a really talented horse. I just think that California Chrome could be a special horse,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father, Mark Casse, who will saddle Illinois Derby winner Dynamic Impact. “I think there would have to be a pace scenario where he gets burned out early and we’d be sitting there to pick up the pieces. That’s how you beat him

“We’re not necessarily going to be scared off by Chrome, but we’re realistic too that if he gets things his way, he’s going to be tough to beat.”

No horse has gotten to the wire in front of California Chrome since he kicked off his current win streak with a 6¼-length victory in the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park last Dec. 22. While many horses have shown flashes of ability, Chrome has a smoothness and tractability to him that makes him a threat in almost any race scenario.

His chestnut frame has enough speed to set the pace on the front end, as he did during his gate-to-wire win in the Grade II San Felipe in March, but is kind enough to rate just behind leaders, effortlessly switch leads and then kick away without jockey Victor Espinoza having to do much urging.

“Victor, he said he’s never went to the bottom of this horse. And when you say bottom, that means driving with the whip,” Sherman said. “If you can rate a speed horse, you got a big, big advantage.”

The connections of lightly raced Social Inclusion have been most vocal about their colt, citing that he has superior speed figures to California Chrome. Not many are falling for it.

“My horse, I think, will run his race, and if they outrun me, they outrun me,” Sherman said. “But they better have their running shoes on.”

  • related content

  • Chart: Preakness odds

    Friday May 16, 2014

    PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds 1. Dynamic Impact Mark Casse Miguel Menna 12-1 2. General a Rod Mike Maker Javier Castellano 15-1 3. California Chrome Art Sherman Victor Espinoza 3-5 4. Ring Weekend Graham Motion Alan Garcia 20-1 5. Bayern Bob...

  • Johnny Love's Preakness picks

    Saturday May 17, 2014

    California Chrome, winner of the 140th Kentucky Derby, will once again have the bull’s-eye on his tail as he will...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close