Kentucky Derby Favorite: California Chrome Familiarizes Himself With Churchill Downs Track

Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome got in some final preparation for Saturday’s race on Thursday morning when he made the walk from his paddock to the track and got to familiarize himself with the gate. He’ll start from post position #5 as he tries to become the first California bred Kentucky Derby winner since 1962 and only the fourth in history.

California Chrome’s trainer, Art Sherman, spoke to exercise rider Willy Delgado after the gate exercise and said that he did just fine:

“Willy told me he did fine in the gate. He’s usually fine in there, but sometimes he hesitates going in. He was fine today.”

California Chrome then galloped 1 1/2 miles and Sherman was pleased with what he saw:

“He looked good out there. He’s feeling good and he’s doing good. He’s coming up to this race right.”

Sherman was asked if he was concerned about California Chrome getting into a speed battle overall:

“No, not really. My horse has speed; he’s really fast. And if (jockey) Victor (Espinoza) wants to use it, he can. I’m not going to give him any instructions. That’s not my way. I know how that works (Sherman rode for more than 20 years). Victor knows him; he has confidence in him, and I’ve got confidence in Victor. He’s won four stakes on my horse and he’s won the Kentucky Derby.”

“The key in a race like this with 20 horses in the field is the first 70 yards. You want to get out and get yourself some position. You don’t want to get bumped or knocked off stride. You don’t want to get the wind knocked out of them. If that happens, then they can’t get into that rhythm; they can’t get rolling properly.”

Sherman will gallop California Chrome once again on Friday morning before the gates open for the Kentucky Oaks card. His next look at the track will be the most important–the running of the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby will take place Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the biggest race of the year for three year old thoroughbreds.



David Glisan has received recognition over the years in Las Vegas for Sports news coverage. He is also featured in various sports radio shows and offers his views on sports.

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