Dual classic winner California Chrome turned in his first workout since the Belmont Stakes, breezing three furlongs handily the morning of Aug. 8 at Los Alamitos Racecourse.
Trainer Art Sherman and co-owner Steve Coburn were both pleased after observing the drill, which was timed in :37 ⅗ seconds. California Chrome had a new exercise companion as Anna Wells, celebrating her 22nd birthday, filled in for regular rider Willie Delgado.
Wells had a firm hold on California Chrome as they started out on the backstretch. The striking 3-year-old chestnut picked up the pace a little in the final furlong while running with his ears pricked as Wells sat steadily.
"We've had almost two weeks of jogging and galloping," Sherman said, since California Chrome returned July 17 from a five-week freshening including time at Harris Farms, the colt's birthplace, following the Triple Crown campaign.
"I don't think as far as air goes he has a hell of a foundation on him, you know what I mean," Sherman said. "The horse hasn't gone back on us, and I think it won't take long for him to get back to himself after watching him today. He's kind of push button. He's one of those horses that you love to be able to train because he does everything you ask him to do."
Sherman said he has not selected a prep race yet for California Chrome, whose major objective this fall is the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1. The trainer said three options are in play. He previously has mentioned the Los Alamitos Mile during the Los Angeles County Fair meet Sept. 20, or the Awesome Again Stakes Sept. 27 at Santa Anita.
"We'll just play it by ear and see how he advances in his training and that will give me a good idea where we're at," Sherman said.
California Chrome's last start June 7 in the Belmont Stakes resulted in a fourth-place finish. That ended a six-race winning streak for the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit, including victories this spring in the San Felipe Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes.
Coburn made the trip from his home near Reno, Nev., to catch the workout and was all smiles afterward.
"He's happy, he loves what he does," said Coburn, who partnered with Perry Martin in the breeding and ownership of California Chrome. "You can see by looking at him. He just loves his barn and everybody around him.
"It's good to have him back home. This is his environment. It was good. He did very, very well [in the workout]. He does everything on his own. He just loves the job, he loves the game. It's great to see him back on the track, it really is."
Wells called the experience of riding California Chrome "a feeling I've never felt before.
"I let Chrome do all the work," she said. "He knew how to start off, when to pick it up. He kind of worked like he does in his races. Willie told me he'd start a little slower, pick it up, and pull himself up after the wire, and that's exactly what he did."
Wells added, "When I came back from the work Art said don't expect anything else. He goes,'That was your birthday present.' But it's going to be hard to top this birthday, absolutely. I've never been on a horse that nice before."