Elmont, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome was taken to school Thursday at Belmont Park as the chestnut colt became familiar with the track’s paddock.
“We don’t do a lot of schooling in the afternoon, hardly at all,” said Alan Sherman, who assists his father, trainer Art Sherman. “We always school in the morning. It’s just something we do. Whether it’s right or wrong, I don’t know. It’s just the way we do it.
“I just don’t like to interrupt his feeding, his dinner. I’d just as soon in the morning. We’ll do it a couple more times throughout the week.”
Owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, the 3-year-old arrived at Belmont’s paddock a little after 6 a.m. ET. He walked around for a while and then spent about five minutes standing in a stall where horses are saddled.
California Chrome, who again will be ridden by Victor Espinoza in the Belmont Stakes, put in another two-mile gallop.
“He pretty much goes at his own pace,” said Alan Sherman. “Like, you see him the first time around, he’s real easy, and then he hits the half-mile pole and starts to pull on (exercise rider) Willie (Delgado) pretty good. Today he was pulling on him a little more than usual.”
The chestnut colt will have his Saturday workout at 6:30 a.m. and Friday morning he will school at the starting gate.
California Chrome is likely to face nine challengers in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 with the possibility of 10. Expected to take on the Triple Crown contender are Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, Commissioner, Matterhorn, Matuszak, Medal Count, Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Tonalist and Wicked Strong. Kid Cruz is listed as possible by Belmont Park stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.