California Chrome Runs to Easy Win in Pacific Classic

IMG_6850California Chrome extended his win streak to five in what looked like the easiest of victories Saturday in the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar against highly acclaimed rivals Beholder and Dortmund.

California Chrome – who is undefeated this year – quickly took the lead and stayed there throughout the 1 ¼-mile race, winning in 2:00:13 by five lengths over Beholder, the 2015 Pacific Classic winner and three-time Eclipse Award-winner.

“It was over by the first turn,” California Chrome’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, said in the winner’s circle.

Dortmund finished in third, one length ahead of stablemate Hoppertunity.

California Chrome was installed as the morning-line favorite and went off as the bettors’ favorite, with a win bet paying $4.20, a place bet $2.60 and a show bet $2.20.

California Chrome’s trainer, Art Sherman, called it “a fantastic race.”

“That’s why he’s the best horse in the country,” Sherman said of the 5-year-old California-bred, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2014 and went on to be named Horse of the Year.IMG_7046

When asked if California Chrome will have any prep races before the Breeders’ Cup, Sherman said, “Maybe the Awesome Again” at Santa Anita on Oct. 1.

California Chrome has been ranked No. 1 for every week this year in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Top Thoroughbred Poll.

The chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit is unbeaten in five starts this year, with wins in the Grade 2 San Pasqual at Santa Anita Park, the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar – the latter of which he won by a mere half-length over Dortmund.

California Chrome raced just twice last year, with runner-up finishes to Shared Belief in the San Antonio Invitational at Santa Anita and to Prince Bishop in the Dubai World Cup before he was sidelined.

Horse Bits:

 It was worth the trip to Southern California for the connections of Harmonize, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on the turf. The Bill Mott trainee shipped west following a fifth-place finish in July in the Belmont Oaks Invitational, which was won by the ultra-tough 3-year-old filly Catch a Glimpse.

 Ashleyluvssugar, the 2 ½-1 favorite, held on by a nose over the late-fnishing Metaboss to clinch a victory in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap on turf for trainer Peter Eurton.

 Songbird won her 10th race in a row with a seven-length victory Saturday in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. The 3-year-old filly is still undefeated.