a href=”http://kentuckyderbytours.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/CC-vox-populi-2-presentation-655×301.png”>Less than four hours after superstar California Chrome worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 at Los Alamitos, his connections were on-hand at Santa Anita to participate in a poster signing as anticipation builds for “Chrome’s” 4-year-old debut in the Grade II, $500,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 7.
With several hundred fans seeking autographs from owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, along with trainer Art Sherman and regular exercise rider Willie Delgado, hope is building that the San Antonio will provide a platform for an epic three-horse confrontation that would include California Chrome, Bayern and Shared Belief.
“I thought his work this morning was outstanding,” said Sherman. “He galloped out strong and he looked pretty strong to me. He’s been training great. We’re lookin’ to run in the San Antonio and waiting to run against Shared Belief. I don’t know if Bayern will be there but I hope he will be. Let ‘em come, bring ‘em on.”
When last they met, Bayern won in gate to wire fashion following a controversial start in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1 that compromised the chances of favored (and previously unbeaten) Shared Belief, who ended fourth, beaten four lengths. California Chrome, who had smooth sailing, finished third, beaten a neck.
Although Bayern hasn’t run since the Classic, California Chrome tried turf for the first time and was a handy winner of the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Nov. 29, while Shared Belief was a game neck winner of the Grade I Malibu at Santa Anita on opening day, Dec. 26.
“Team Chrome” took some additional bows on Saturday, as they received the fifth annual Secretariat, “Vox Populi” (Voice of the People) Award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony following the fifth race. Legendary retired jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., who ran second aboard Sham to Secretariat in both the 1973 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, presented the trophy.