Culver City Observer -

California Chrome Is Awesome Again!

Domination Continues at Santa Anita

 

September 29, 2016

Fred Altieri

California Chrome and Victor Espinoza breeze to victory

The greatest athlete in the world blew away the field at Santa Anita Park on a hot October afternoon with the sun-baked San Gabriel Mountains towering in approval just furlongs away.

California Chrome struck such a dominant tone on Saturday, October 1, 2016 in the Awesome Again Stakes that it even threatened to blur the thoroughbred's most recent must-see wins.

"I can't say enough about the ride. It was just perfect. The horse is great and the people involved with the horse are great," said Art Sherman, Chrome's trainer.

Perry Martin, owner and partner in California Chrome, LLC: "It's a feeling I'm getting used to. It feels great. It's always great. An amazing feeling."

Not even another inside-rail draw could distract Chrome as he made the Grade I victory look deceptively easy. It was anything but... but it was impossible to tell.

Victor Espinoza, the best thoroughbred rider in the world, guided Chrome with precision in 1:48.07 to dismiss the 2-scratch 5-horse race field in the 1 1/8 mile $300,000 Guaranteed 7th Race.

Dortmund, the best thoroughbred in the world not named California Chrome or American Pharoah, was the lone contender. Unlike their spellbinding wire-to-wire battle two months ago in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar Racetrack, Chrome broke the race in the backstretch of the all-natural dirt racetrack in Arcadia, California.

Espinoza: "He's on his game right now. (Dortmund) wasn't a threat today. Maybe the first quarter mile but after that I just kept pulling away, which only helped me get some breathing room between us and the rest of the field."

Dortmund was falling behind, forced outside and spinning hoofs coming into the stretch. Leading by 3 1/2 lengths, California Chrome and Espinoza maintained a steady, professional gallop that froze time while cooling the engines down for the last 1/8 mile.

Fred Altieri

(R-L) California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, Sherman Racing and Company in the Winner's Circle

"Second-best, no excuses. The winner had a lot of pressure on him and that was the only chance I had. My horse ran good, just second-best," said Rafael Bejarano, Dortmund's jockey.

Espinoza: "I didn't want to overuse him (Chrome) today. We've got a big race coming up. It seemed like he was doing everything today very easily. Hopefully he'll run big in the Breeders' Cup."

The growing legion of Chromies were beyond ecstatic as their 5-year old swooned across the finish line and took the dozen requested circle calls from the raving fans. With Chrome and his growing entourage, the winner's circle swarmed into its now-customary celebratory chaos. Next up... the Breeders' Cup.

Read the full story in the coming edition of the Culver City Observer.

 

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