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

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta - LP: D. Carpenter 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: M. Melancon 3
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Huff 2
Arizona - LP: E. Marshall 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: R. Soriano 3
LA Angels - WP: C. Rasmus 8 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 3
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 7
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 3
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 5 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 0
Kansas City - LP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 5
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 1
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Colorado 3
San Jose 1 FINAL
Seattle 1
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close