Santa Anita Park, Dirt, 1810m

5 April 2014

Perry Martin and Steve Coburn’sCalifornia Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) turned heads and dropped jaws Saturday in the GI Santa Anita Derby, galloping away from his competition with uncommon ease to solidify his spot as the favorite for next month’s GI Kentucky Derby.

GII Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday) was 5 1/4 lengths back in second after a perfect trip, while GII Robert B. Lewis Stakes hero Candy Boy (Candy Ride) held on for third.

“Right now, he’s kind of freaky and I’m enjoying it,” said winning trainer Art Sherman. “I can’t believe the races I’ve been seeing. A length or two might have been alright with me.”

The 77-year-old was the exercise rider for 1955 Kentucky Derby and Santa Anita Derby winner Swaps - a Cal-bred just like California Chrome - but would be saddling his first-ever runner in the Churchill Classic.

“He’s my Swaps, let’s put it that way,” said Sherman of California Chrome. “If all goes well, we’ll ship to Kentucky probably a week before the Derby.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News