Superstar California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) attracted plenty of attention Saturday morning as he turned in his first work at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a final career start in the $12-million GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 28. With regular rider Dihigi Gladney up and many observers lining the rail, the champion chestnut covered five furlongs in 1:00.72 (15/46) with a six-furlong gallop-out in 1:13 1/5 (video).
“I’m really happy with that work,” offered Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father Art. “The track was a little deep, and he covered the ground well. I couldn’t be happier with him. He just goes about his business. He loves to train.”
Gladney said of North America’s highest-earning Thoroughbred of all time, “This horse has a lot of supporters. I looked out there before the track closed for the break and I saw the people piling in. I said, ‘Look at this.’ The Chrome Community is strong everywhere. They love this horse everywhere we go.”
Last seen airing by 12 lengths in the Winter Challenge S. at his Los Alamitos Racecourse home base Dec. 17, California Chrome will have his final work for the Pegasus next Saturday. Later that night, it will be announced whether he or GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) was voted 2016 Horse of the Year. Arrogate is expected to take on California Chrome again in the Pegasus before the latter heads off to stud duties at Taylor Made Farm.
Todd Pletcher trainees Keen Ice (Curlin) and Neolithic (Harlan’s Holiday) each put in their penultimate works for the Pegasus Saturday at Palm Beach Downs. The former, winner of the 2015 GI Travers S. and third behind Arrogate and California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, covered five panels in 1:00.80 (2/19) alongside GISW Greenpointcrusader (Bernardini). Neolithic, a nine-length allowance romper Dec. 14, was credited with the same time in his drill with MGSW Madefromlucky (Lookin At Lucky).
“Both of them worked very well. I was pleased with both of them. Everything seems in good order,” Pletcher said. “Everything’s gone according to plan. We’re satisfied with the way they’ve been training, so hopefully they have another good two weeks.”
In other Saturday Pegasus news, James McIngvale’s Argentinian MG1SW Eragon (Arg) (Offlee Wild) put in an easy breeze in Hallandale, for which he was credited with four furlongs in :49.93 (65/99).
“I thought he worked fine,” offered trainer Laura Wohlers.
“He hadn’t worked in a long time–since Dec. 17 in Argentina. He worked an easy seven-eighths. [Saturday] was the fastest he’s gone in a month–since being stuck in quarantine. I’m happy with it and he seems to be cooling out good. He was blowing a little bit, but he caught his breath back pretty quick.”