Saturday, August 20, 2016
California Chrome's historic perfect season continued to roll on with a devastating victory over a stellar field in Saturday's $1 million Pacific Classic (G1).
Facing the likes of three-time champion Beholder and Grade 1 winners Dortmund and Hard Aces, California Chrome nevertheless controlled the race from the outset. Breaking from the rail, Victor Espinoza guided 'Chrome' well off the rail as he sprinted to the lead.
The fractions were solid, but none of the other runners could go with California Chrome as he galloped along on the front end. Nearing the stretch, Espinoza looked around for the competition, but his closest competitor Beholder was working hard to keep up.
Down the stretch, California Chrome was under a hand ride as he increased his lead and was basically eased under the wire, finishing the 1 1/4-miles in 2:00.13.
“Soon as I bounced out of there, it was exactly what I wanted to do,” said Espinoza. “Obviously today he was much the best.”
Asked on TVG if he would choose to ride California Chrome over American Pharoah (who he rode to the 2015 Triple Crown), Espinoza replied, “As an older horse, there is no one like California Chrome; I would choose him no question.”
Perry Martin, who co-owns California Chrome with Taylor Made as part of the California Chrome LLC group, said they would look to run at Santa Anita Park for California Chrome's next start.
“We'll look at the (Grade 1, $300,000 , on Oct. 1) Awesome Again (next), people might not believe it, but he just keeps getting better,” said Martin.
California Chrome, racing's all-time leading money earner, raised his earnings to $13,252,650. The 2014 Horse of the Year has won nine graded stakes and has a record of 14-3-1 in 23 starts.