Like the fine wine that he is, California Chrome, now five, the 2014 Kentucky Derby® winner returns to the track this Saturday for the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. As retirement looms on the horizon, the record-breaker looks to close out on a phenomenal career.
Saturday’s race at Del Mar is a stepping stone to bigger and more attractive prizes. A $200,000 purse may seem small by Chrome’s standards, but his last run was in March in the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup, and that may be a cause for concern. The inclusion of Bob Baffert’s Dortmund, 3rd in last year’s Kentucky Derby, will also pose some problems.
However, in a career which has yielded 12 wins from 21 starts and earnings of nearly $13 million, Chrome’s long-term aim will be November’s Breeders’ Cup® Classic at Santa Anita, followed by the world’s richest race, the $12 million Pegasus Cup at Gulfstream Park in Florida as a career-ender.
In a sport where a stars' brightness only shines for a such a brief time, Chrome’s longevity and success rate have been somewhat unprecedented, an anomaly. California Chrome has become thoroughbred racing’s superstar at a time when it was needed most. While 2015 was dominated by Triple Crown™ and racing’s Grand Slam Winner American Pharoah, Pharoah’s quick retirement to stud left the racing landscape with a void that Chrome has duly filled. Barring injury, he is well-positioned to finish his career in glamorous fashion.
The People’s Champion
He is a champion of the people, and his connections know that all-too well. At this stage in his career, nobody would have begrudged owners of Chrome retiring him by now. Instead, they have taken an unfamiliar road. While a lifetime of breeding royalties and stud fees await America’s superstar, history made them hang around. Should California Chrome finish off his career in winning style over his final three outings, he would obliterate the sport's money record with a mind boggling bank roll of roughly $25 million.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical, and the hard work begins on Saturday. Thereafter, bigger and more appetizing prizes await. Ambitious? Yes. Chrome’s final chapter in a storied career is about to go to print. Not getting older, but getting better.
Witness History – The 2016 Breeders’ Cup®!
As the curtain is gradually drawn on California Chrome’s illustrious career, witness his assault on history at the Breeders’ Cup, which begins on November 4. Experience all-time leading North American horse in earnings do battle with an array of international horse racing talent. In what is regarded as an ultimate test of thoroughbreds, make sure you don’t miss this by getting on board with one of our unique packages that includes private secure entrances, access to exclusive in-track hospitality party venues on race days, celebrity meet-and-greets, and more.