Chrome Arrives In New York For Belmont
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[May 21, 2014]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - California
Chrome, American racing's new super horse, arrived in New York on
Tuesday to begin his preparations for the Belmont Stakes.
The big chestnut colt made it to the Big Apple to the sort of
reception normally reserved for pop stars and heads of state, with
the paparazzi and television cameras gathered in force to record his
When the Triple Crown hopeful was led off the van that had
transported him from Baltimore after his win in Saturday's Preakness
Stakes, he stopped and flexed his giant muscles for the cameras
before heading to the barn that will be his temporary home until the
race on June 7.
"He likes to stand out here and pose," said his assistant trainer
"He loves to get his picture taken. He's a very inquisitive horse.
He's always checking out what's going on around him."
California Chrome has been thrust into the spotlight after winning
the first two legs of American horse racing's Triple Crown - the
Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
He now just needs to win the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes to complete
the elusive treble that only 11 horses before him have managed to
achieve and none since Affirmed since 1978.
For American race fans, the long wait has been unbearable and they
see California Chrome as the perfect fairytale horse to break the
In a sport where regally bred horses change hands for millions of
dollars, California Chrome has defied the odds.
Modestly bred for just $10,500 by two blue-collar workers who are
new to racing, he is trained by a 77-year-old who was an exercise
rider for the 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps and is ridden by a
Mexican who worked as a bus driver before becoming a jockey.
"I think the industry could really use a Triple Crown winner right
now, especially with a story like this," Sherman said.
"This horse didn't cost a ton of money to buy him or breed him. It's
kind of a feel-good story. This goes to show you never know what can
happen in this game."
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Sherman has been looking after the horse for
his father Art, who became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky
Derby when California Chrome saluted at Churchill Downs on May 3.
The elder Sherman returned to his stables in California after the
Preakness to let his son manage the horse's final build-up for the
one and a half mile (2400 meters) Belmont Stakes, the longest and
most physically testing of the three races.
California Chrome will almost start as favorite although the odds
are stacked against him after most of his biggest dangers took a
break after the Kentucky Derby to keep fresh for the final leg.
California Chrome did not train on Tuesday after his four and a half
hour trip to New York but Alan Sherman said he would have his first
workout on the Belmont dirt course on Wednesday morning.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's been an unbelievable
ride for us," Sherman said.
"It's hard to describe. It's just been so much fun. This horse has
taken us on the ride of our lives."
(Reporting by Julian Linden, editing by Gene Cherry)
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