California Chrome and trainer Art Sherman are going their separate ways this week.
California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, will remain at Churchill Downs in Louisville until he is shipped to Baltimore next Monday in preparation for the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Sherman, the chestnut colt’s 77-year-old trainer, headed back to Los Angeles and Santa Anita, to supervise the other horses in his stable.
“I don’t really have to do too much with him; just keep him happy, keep him fresh,” Sherman told reporters at Churchill Downs.
Sherman says he runs most of his top horses about every six or seven weeks, but the Preakness on May 17 is a quick turnaround, so the focus is on keeping the horse comfortable and rested.
“Rather than shift to different tracks, he likes it here. He likes his surroundings,” Sherman said. “Let him freshen up for a few days and we’ll get over there probably four or five days before just to school him like I always do.”
It would be tough to argue against Sherman’s strategy at this point. California Chrome, the 5-2 favorite, romped to a 1 3/4-length victory at the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first California-bred to win the race since 1962.
The horse has won his last five races and seven of 11 in his career.
Sherman said California Chrome came away from his Derby victory no worse for the wear. On Sunday, he had a morning walk and bath, then posed for photos.
If California Chrome can win the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico, next up would be the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 7 – the final jewel in the Triple Crown.
There have been only 11 Triple Crown winners, none since Affirmed in 1978.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times