California Chrome and Candy Boy, the two favorites for next Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Derby, had their final major drills Saturday morning for their highly anticipated meeting, California Chrome working four furlongs at his Los Alamitos headquarters in :46 2/5 under regular rider Victor Espinoza, and Candy Boy going six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:11 4/5 under regular rider Gary Stevens.
"He looked sharp," trainer Art Sherman said of California Chrome. "He galloped out strong, five furlongs in a minute, and three-quarters in 1:13 2/5. All systems are go. His work was super; I was very impressed. I'll get him over there, school him in the gate, go through the paddock and then we'll be ready to go. Since it's supposed to rain Tuesday, we might go over Wednesday.
“He's doing great over here. All our horses are running good from here, and they go over (to Santa Anita) and win so it must be beneficial to train here. I like an all-dirt track anyhow, I always have. I rode for a lot of years and I always liked riding on dirt."
"It was excellent," Espinoza said. "It was easy for him, 46 and two, a little bit fast. He was even more on the muscle today (than in his previous work). He was excited to go. I'm just happy to be on him and I look forward to every race he runs."
Candy Boy, working in company with Prospector Alley, started about five lengths behind his stablemate and finished up four in front, tracking most of the way before taking the lead near the sixteenth pole. Private clocker Gary Young got the seven furlong gallop out in 1:26.
"We're where we want to be with him," trainer John Sadler said. "Everything has gone according to schedule so far."
Possible for the West Coast's major steppingstone to the May 3 Kentucky Derby: California Chrome, Victor Espinoza; Bayern, no rider; Hoppertunity, no rider; Candy Boy, Gary Stevens; Dublin Up, no rider; Big Tire, no rider; Friendswith K Mill, Tyler Baze; Rprettyboyfloyd, Rafael Bejarano; The Admiral, no rider; and Schoolofhardrocks, Joe Talamo.
Friendswith K Mill worked five furlongs for Doug O'Neill Saturday in 1:00, while Big Tire went six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 for Mark Glatt.
Post positions for the Santa Anita Derby will be drawn on Wednesday.