Racing News

California Chrome on course for San Felipe; Baffert brigade posts works

  • California Chrome romped in the Cal Cup Derby last time, beating next-out El Camino Real Derby winner Tamarando (Benoit Photos)

California Cup Derby winner California Chrome worked four furlongs at Los Alamitos Saturday in :47 4/5 in preparation for his foray into open company in the Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 8, where it is expected he will face, among others, the Bob Baffert-trained Bayern, smashing 15-length allowance winner on Thursday.

"I got him galloping out (five furlongs) in 1:00 3/5," said trainer Art Sherman, who had his regular exercise rider, Jay Conklin, aboard the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit.

Sherman was philosophical about facing tougher foes in the San Felipe.

"We can't duck anybody," he said. "We need points (to qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 3). I'll just keep my fingers crossed."

The San Felipe is worth 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.

On Sunday at Santa Anita, Baffert sent out several workers, including three of his Triple Crown hopefuls.

Midnight Hawk and Chitu strode four furlongs in company, going :47 2/5 and :47 4/5, respectively. Click here for the video and analysis by Zoe Cadman on

By design, Chitu went to the front, and Midnight Hawk was parked in his wake by Martin Garcia. Midnight Hawk took a fierce hold and became rank. Once angled around his stablemate and in the clear, he picked up readily and finished slightly ahead of Chitu, who was going easily within himself.

Chitu was most recently a fine second to Candy Boy in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in his two-turn debut. Midnight Hawk, winner of the Sham Stakes two starts ago, exits a third in the Lewis.

Last-out maiden winner Hoppertunity drilled five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 ahead of his stakes debut in Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. Under Garcia, the Baffert pupil worked in company with four-year-old maiden Modern Empire, who was clocked in 1:00 4/5, breezing.

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California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.