He’s BACK! California Chrome arrives at Los Alamitos

kd6Was California Chrome or trainer Art Sherman happier when California Chrome returned to Los Alamitos this week? No one was sure.

California Chrome bellowing out a loud neigh as he approached the Sherman barn and was playfully peeking out of the trailer window to get a good look.

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman said since the colt was sent to Taylor Made over the summer, California Chrome has put on around 160 pounds. “He’s significantly larger than he was when he was a 3-year-old,” Art Sherman said. “He looks great.”

With a smile plastered on the elder Sherman’s face, the Lucky Pulpit colt was loaded into his custom-built, double-wide stall, which Alan Sherman called “California King” sized. Only a day before, a wall was knocked out between two stalls to give the dual classic winner some extra room. He greeted his new enclosure with a few rolls in the hay to make it just right.

“What do you think, big boy?” Art Sherman said to the colt from the front of the stall.

Moving forward, the Shermans will be taking their time with their prized pupil, who counts last year’s Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes among his wins. He’ll walk the shed row at Los Alamitos for a bit and should be jogging soon.

Art Sherman said it will take a full 90 days to get California Chrome back into shape and that his first target will be the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) in January at Santa Anita Park, with another run in Dubai at the Dubai World Cup and the Breeders’ Cup all part of a tentative plan for his 5-year-old season. But the immediate challenges of training stand out.

“He’s hasn’t had a saddle on him in over three months and he’s a lot of horse,” Art Sherman said. “I’m glad I’m not getting on him, because he might be doing a couple handstands.”

“He’s taken us to spots few people have been and it’s exciting to have a horse like that, but I don’t like to backpedal, especially in this business,” the trainer said. “Things have a way of turning around. What goes around, comes around, and I’m a big believer of that in life.

“It’s going to be a challenge to get him back to his peak, but there’s a chance he could be a better horse. You just don’t know. If he’s better, he’s going to be an awesome horse next year.”