There are just six horses entered Saturday in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, but the presence of
"I'm excited to see him run on the grass. It's a different scenario for me," Sherman said. "We should have a few Chromies" — California Chrome fans — "out here for it."
A win by California Chrome might provide the final push he needs to be recognized as the top horse in 2014. A loss and it could further confuse voters choosing among California Chrome, Bayern and Shared Belief, the top contenders for horse of the year.
Bayern ended his racing campaign with a win in the
California Chrome has a strong fan following. At the Breeders' Cup, fans were cheering in the paddock area when California Chrome was walked in. His primary challenger on Saturday could be a filly, Lexie Lou, who won the Queen's Plate at Woodbine in July and is well-tested on the grass.
"I've always thought he could be good on grass," Sherman told Del Mar officials. "He's so efficient; he doesn't have any wasted motion. So far, he floats over it. It's also an opportune time. It's against 3-year-olds, and next year we'll be wide open. If he can lay close on the grass, with his kick coming home, that means a lot."
The Hollywood Derby will be run as the eighth of nine races. First post is 12:30 p.m. Del Mar's 15-day meeting ends Sunday.