From a Maryland Jockey Club release
The connections of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome said again Friday morning that their colt is healthy and ready to compete in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
California Chrome coughed after training Thursday morning and he was examined by trainer Art Sherman’s veterinarian, who discovered that the colt had a small blister in his throat. The homebred colt owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin had a similar blister prior to his victory in the Derby.
Alexis Garske, a spokeswoman for Sherman Racing, said that when the blister – described as a common, minor irritation – was found in Kentucky after the Derby, blood tests were done and the colt’s airway was scoped. Those examinations showed that the colt was fine and able to continue training. Garske said Friday that California Chrome was not scoped and did not have his blood tested in Maryland this week.
California Chrome is being treated with a glycerin throat wash.
“California Chrome is fine. His throat is fine. He had a little tickle,” said Sherman’s son and assistant trainer, Alan Sherman. “He is not scratching from the Preakness. He is fine. I don’t know why it was blown out of proportion.”
Art Sherman said the blister is a routine matter and not a cause for concern.
“Sometimes they get a little scratchy,” Art Sherman said. “It’s not a big deal, as long as their blood comes back good and they eat up everything. It’s just something that horses do have. If you scope a lot of horses after a race you’re going to see all kind of little stuff going on. None of them are really perfect. Going a mile and a quarter, if you scope them afterward, you’ll see dirt down their throats. It’s just imperative when you race horses.”
California Chrome went to the track shortly after 6 a.m. Friday and galloped two miles in the rain under exercise rider Willie Delgado. The exercise was moved ahead by approximately 30 minutes because a heavy round of showers was expected to arrive later in the hour.
“I thought he looked good,” Art Sherman said.
The Shermans have enjoyed their time at Pimlico while meeting the connections of other Preakness runners.
“It’s been fun and we’re trying to be relaxed into this race,” Art Sherman said. “When you run a 3-5 shot, you’ve got a lot more pressure on you knowing you’re going to be the favorite, but I think we can handle it.”
Sherman said that it is up to jockey Victor Espinoza to decide what strategy to use in the Preakness.
“You’ve got to see how the race is going to play out,” Sherman said. “I wish I had a future book to look at and see how this is going to be, but I’ve been around for a long time and I just go one race at a time. I can’t give instructions to Victor; he’s been around there. Anyone that gives instructions to these kind of jocks are kidding themselves. That’s why they are earning the big bucks and they are very talented riders.”