2014 Horse of the Year, California Chrome, took to the Los Alamitos Race Course this past weekend to prepare for the upcoming San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) race that will be held on January 9th at Santa Anita Park.
Riding under Victor Espinoza and accompanied by a pony, Company Chrome, broke behind stablemate Unusually Big, where he eventually passed him and finished the seven furlongs warmup run in a time of 1:25 2/5. Through six furlongs, his fraction times were: :24 4/5, :48 1/5, and 1:12 1/5.
“I thought the work went really well,” said trainer Art Sherman. “I worked him in company because I’m going to try him without blinkers now. This is a new thing for him and I figure, without the blinkers on, he’ll be able to see horses coming up on him. He’s more focused as an older horse now and I really don’t think he needs the blinkers.”
California Chrome has worked without blinkers since he returned to training in the early part of November, and Sherman expects that he will race without blinkers in the San Pasqual Stakes.
“I put the blinkers on him when he was green and doing different things, but now he’s mature and he’s worked so darn good like you saw him today,” said Sherman. “I haven’t had them on all this year, so I think it’ll be a big benefit. I always thought he hung a little bit sometimes waiting on horses. This way he can see them coming to him and it could make a big difference.”
While Sherman believes blinkers aren’t needed, Espinoza doesn’t feel as confident, saying California Chrome “works better with blinkers on,” and that he would likely recommend putting them back on for the San Pasqual Stakes.