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California Chrome will race in Southern California for the rest of the year, trainer says

Dubai World Cup

Victor Espinoza rides California Chrome to victory in the Dubai World Cup on March 26.

(Warren Little / Getty Images)

In a move sure to please Southern California race fans, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman has laid out a schedule that would have North America’s all-time leading money-winner running twice at Santa Anita and twice at Del Mar this year.

And he may also run the horse as a 6-year-old.

“Right now, we’re pointing him to the July 23 San Diego Handicap,” Sherman told The Times. “That’s just before the Pacific Classic [on Aug. 20 at Del Mar].”

A win in the Pacific Classic would likely have the horse in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, according to Sherman. Del Mar and the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, are offering a $1-million bonus to any horse that sweeps the Pacific, Awesome Again and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

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The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita is set for Nov. 5. Wishers and dreamers have already thrown out a scenario that the Classic could include California Chrome along with Nyquist, winner of the Kentucky Derby, and Beholder, the 6-year-old mare who has won 16 of 20 races.

“That would be great,” Sherman said. “It would be one of the best betting races you’ve ever seen if they could all hook up.”

Most thought the Classic would be California Chrome’s last race before going to stud at the Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky. However, Sherman says that’s not certain.

This week, the Stronach Group announced the creation of the $12-million Pegasus World Cup to be held on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park in Florida. It’s actually more of a poker game, with little risk for the track. Each of the owners of the 12 horses entered puts up $1 million and there is the purse.

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“When they give that kind of money, you have to take a shot at it,” Sherman said. “Especially with a horse coming out of the Breeders’ Cup.”

The timing of the race in late January is good as breeding season doesn’t really get going until February.

“It all depends on how he is physically,” Sherman said.

Sherman also said it has not been ruled out that the horse could run deeper into his 6-year-old season.

“There is the possibility he could run one more year,” the trainer said.

California Chrome became the all-time leading money-winning horse when he won the Dubai World Cup on March 27. It pushed his lifetime earnings to $12.5 million.

The California-bred horse catapulted onto the scene in 2014 when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He was bred for $2,500 to an $8,000 mare, making him the poster horse for the idea that anything is possible.

The horse is a huge crowd favorite, with almost 18,000 Twitter followers. His affection for a certain brand of cookie has fans filling up his stall at Los Alamitos with the treats. When he races, on-track attendance swells.

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Sherman says the horse is looking great, and that he plans to breeze him on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

Twitter: @jcherwa


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