California Chrome on target for Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK (AP) - Art Sherman got his first glimpse of California Chrome in action in two weeks, and the trainer liked what he saw.
Sherman arrived in New York on Monday afternoon and watched his Triple Crown contender gallop at Belmont Park on Tuesday morning. It was the first time Sherman had observed the chestnut colt since he captured the Preakness.
"I thought he looked better now than he did after the Preakness," Sherman said. "I couldn't believe how much weight he put on. Going on the Triple Crown trail, it's kind of rough. He's an amazing horse."
California Chrome will try for the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 tomorrow in the US$1.5m Belmont Stakes.
The flashy 3-year-old with four white feet will be the heavy favorite in the one-mile Belmont, known as the "Test of the Champion" for its history of crushing Triple Crown dreams.
Only 11 horses have swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in the same year. There have been 11 Triple tries since Affirmed, the most recent being Big Brown in 2008.
The Belmont will be the colt's third demanding race in a short five-week span.
"He's doing outstanding," Alan Sherman said. "I couldn't ask for anything more right now. I'm just enjoying the ride he's put us on."
For Art Sherman, it is a homecoming for the Brooklyn native.
"I haven't been back to Williamsburg in many years," Sherman said. "It's changed quite a bit. I probably can't afford Williamsburg now."
The Belmont, the longest of the Triple Crown races, is contested over a track with wide, sweeping turns. It gives jockeys plenty of time to sort out early positions.