Chrome back at home as Classic countdown begins
North America's richest thoroughbred, California Chrome, is back at home with trainer Art Sherman after a well-earned break on the back of his thrilling Dubai World Cup success in March.
A year after disappointing in the Meydan showpiece, California Chrome made what once seemed an unlikely return to the desert and crowned another defining moment in his career with a scintillating win in front of the watching racing world.
Since his win at Meydan, California Chrome has been residing at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, the luxurious stallion farm run by his now part-owners, the Taylor family – where he will eventually retire to stand at stud.
The Taylor's became involved in California Chrome after a disappointing four-year-old campaign saw co-owner Steve Coburn elect to sell his share in the horse, and so a new partnership was born.
Having spent some time at Taylor Made Farm recovering from his aborted mission to run at Royal Ascot in the English summer, the medics put forward the theory that there was nothing to stop California Chrome from scaling the heights of his Kentucky Derby and Preakness winning 2014 campaign once again, if given the right care.
That is exactly what he got before returning to Sherman to begin training for what was now set to be an exciting journey as a five-year-old in racing.
Having shown his old enthusiasm was still there in his prep races, California Chrome was sent off joint-favourite with another American darling – Frosted – for the Dubai World Cup.
As it turned out, the race was all about one horse, with jockey Victor Espinoza steering California Chrome home with plenty to spare to make him America's richest racehorse.
Already assured of his place in racing folklore with his ever-increasing band of cult followers – 'Chromies' – Sherman's pride and joy would elevate himself into the pantheon of his sport's greatest icons should he come home in front at Santa Anita on 5th November.
Just as he did last summer, California Chrome has spent some time in the plush surroundings at Taylor Made Farm to recover from his exertions in the Middle East.
As of 1st May, however, he is back with Sherman and ready to start working out at his beloved Los Alamitos in Cypress, California.
From there, the trainer intends to formulate a campaign that will have Chrome in tip-top shape going to Santa Anita.
From there, the 2014 Horse of the Year will be primed to make amends for his sub-par showing in the Breeders' Cup Classic behind Bayern and Toast Of New York two years ago.
That also came at Santa Anita and, as he showed at Meydan most recently, California Chrome likes the idea of a shot at redemption.