California Chrome Will NEVER Win the Triple Crown

Horse-Racing-Triple-Crown-Winners

I love the horse, and the connections, but a final quarter in 26+ off a slow pace does not bode well for the 12F Belmont in five weeks’ time. He would have lost every Derby on a fast track in the 1960’s by multiple lengths. Hell, the final HALF was :52!! That was not California Chrome accelerating down the Churchill stretch, that was him decelerating slightly less than the other slowpokes.

I think 12 have won the Derby and Preakness since the last Triple Crown champ, and all fell short over Big Sandy. Chrome will do the same, if he gets by a new shooter (Social Inclusion?) in 2 weeks’ time in Maryland. Or perhaps he meets a Derby competitor who skips the trip to Pimlico and goes home to NY to rest up (Wicked Strong?) before the Belmont.

I first liked him off of his ambitious racing schedule the past 12 months, but fell out of love with him this week at Churchill as he arrived mid-week and did next to nothing over the CD strip. Wisely so, it appears in retrospect I must admit. I suppose his first plane trip and race outside of CA was stress enough that Mr. Sherman laid off the aggressive 2 mile gallops that had taken place at Los Alamitos.

I am in the process of doing some work with a glycogen loading protocol, and I wonder if horses, like humans, need to taper back the daily exercise in the days leading up to a big race, while at the same time loading up on carbohydrates in an effort to top off glycogen energy stores? But then I love the pre-race 3F blowout a few days out, so who knows where I am going with this-

Again, the $10k horse from modest beginnings coming out of a low-end circuit is one of my favorite story lines, but if Chrome is sat on the next 5 weeks with nothing more than jogs and slow gallops (no works), I will hope for him to lose the Triple Crown decisively.

Once more, I use Assault as the example of what a Triple Crown winner does in the mornings from May thru June:

MAY
3 – 4F in :48
4 – Won Kentucky Derby by 8 in 2:06 on sloppy track
5 – walked at CD
6 – shipped to Pimlico
8 – 3F in :40
9 – 8F in 1:45
11 – Won Preakness Stakes by a neck in 2:01 on fast track
12 – shipped to Belmont
16 – 4F in :52
18 – 3F in :40
20 – 4F in :48
22 – 8F in 1:44
24 – 3F in :35
25 – 1.25 miles in 2:05 (:50, 1:15, 1:40, 2:05)
28 – 4F in :50
29 – 1.5 miles in 2:32

JUNE
1 – Won Belmont Stakes by 3 in 2:31 on fast track
5 – 4F in :52
7 – 4F in :51
9 – 8F in 1:43
11 – 3F in :36
13 – 8F in 1:43 at Aqueduct
15 – Won Dwyer Stakes by 5 lengths in 2:07 on fast track

To summarize:

-With all those works, did he ever simply gallop? Does he need to?
-16 breezes in that 45 day window, averaging nearly 6F per effort, in 12-13 sec/f paces.
-A Triple Crown AND Dwyer win within those very same 6 weeks.
-Note the Preakness was run 1 week after the Derby and he still worked TWICE.
-Also note he worked the entire race distance of 1.5 miles 2 days before the Belmont. You gotta be kidding me. I feel like I am making this up.

How about War Admiral in 1937?

”Between the Preakness and the June 5 Belmont Stakes, trainer George Conway poured it to the little Admiral. Working at three-day intervals, War Admiral breezed 11 furlongs in 2:22, 12 furlongs in 2:35.40, 12 furlongs in 2:34.60, and 12 furlongs again in 2:34.60, the last move coming just three days before the Belmont.”

So, what am I saying? Should every TC runner start to emulate these programs? No way, not even close. First off, those old timers galloped an honest 2+ miles daily for months before April of their 3yo season, and weren’t plied with Lasix as a ‘preventative’ measure everytime they went fast at age 2.

Secondly, you must first gauge the recovery of your horse after a 5F work before going 6F, etc. Of course, I do this with a HR/GPS monitor, they weren’t doing that in the 40’s I assure you. Back then every horse went through a meat grinder of a conditioning schedule; many got hurt, but those that survived were monsters – absolute iron horses.

Today, they all go through a threadbare regimen: 1.25 mile daily gallops and weekly 4-5F works, only galloping out strong during the weeks prior to Derby. Many still get hurt, and the best of the survivors run Derby times of 2:03 and Belmont times over 2:30; times akin to those of several decades ago – despite a million occurrences of breeding the ‘best to the best’. What a scam.

Now imagine the future path of California Chrome:
I can show you his worktab prior to the Preakness right now:

 

And I can show you his worktab the week before the Belmont:

 

All this considered and the winner of the 2014 Belmont, whoever he is, will run slower than 2:30 on a fast track, guaranteed. That will be the fourth consecutive 2:30+ time in the decade, which hasn’t happened since the 1930s.

Chrome is the best of yet another bad 3yo bunch and that’s fine, but it won’t earn him a place alongside the legends of the game as a TC champion, in my opinion. But if I’m wrong; I’d be glad to be proven wrong by this bunch of connections: at least we have 10 races going into the Derby and those long 2 mile gallops to fall back on as reasons for his success.

EDIT: The Beyer came it at 97, the Oaks winner carded a 107. If Chrome ran successive quarters of 24-24-24-24-25 I would love him, but he ran roughly two 26’s at the end. And please, gearing him down from 35mph to 33mph 60 yds from the wire is meaningless to the final time.

PS. Fresh horse? If anything he was the least fresh, with 10 races in the last 12 months. All of them were ‘fresh': nothing but jogs, slow gallops Derby week, last work 6-7 days out, no races for 3-5 weeks, etc. – and 15 of 19 ran like shit.

PS2. Mr. Sherman is already talking about taking it easy the week before the Preakness in Maryland, remember these quotes from the conditioner when he comes up short in the Belmont. But in all fairness he really has no choice at this point. All those well-spaced out 4-5F works at Los Al have pretty much committed him to this path already.

PS3. I’m reminded of all those 9F preps where the winner ‘did it so easy’, was ‘well within himself’, and my personal favorite ‘galloped out so strongly, the extra furlong of the Derby is in his wheelhouse’? 90% of those prep stars came home on rubber legs yesterday through easier fractions than they found in their 9F efforts.

EDIT2. I’m not the only one with doubts, from today’s paper:

Jockey Victor Espinoza: ‘he just got a little tired. A mile and a quarter, coming off shipping and everything, but he is fine.’

Trainer Art Sherman: ‘he didn’t eat every oat, but he just left a handful.’

Trainer Mark Casse: ‘I couldn’t believe how slow the race was because the track was fairly fast all day. ‘

EDIT3. Criticisms aside, he’s one good looking horse the morning after arrival at PIM:

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About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on May 4, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Come on man you’re being ridiculous. Final time means nothing. If you go slow early the final time will be slow. The horses aren’t racing the clock, they’re racing each other. You only need to go fast enough to beat the other horses. Wise Dan showed that well yesterday. A win is a win is a win. Doug O’Neil and I’ll Have another had the same regimen and they probably would have won the triple crown if not for the bowed tendon. All horses are different. TJ smith had the fittest horses in the world and yet his horses don’t hold the record time in the Melbourne Cup. If we go by time alone to judge horses then Monarchos and Louis Quatorze were as good as Secretariat. Just ridiculous

    • I’ll Have Another did not have the same regimen: he strong 2min licked almost daily, I was there.

      I knew I’d get a ‘time doesn’t matter’ guy right out of the gate. All he had to do was go 24-24-24-24-25 and I would be over the moon on him. Didn’t happen.

      If you go slow early you should be able to come home in faster than 26+ on a fast track.

      Let me guess: you were one of the clowns calling Uncle Mo the next Seattle Slew? I was right then and I am likely right now.

      Come back and call me ridiculous again after he gets his clock cleaned in a few weeks. Time matters when comparing TC champions over several decades. How else do you recommend we should compare them? By height?

  2. You maybe are right or maybe not but always is interesting to read yours articles.
    Regards

  3. Secretariat holds the time record for all 3 jewels of the Triple Crown, that is PRECISELY why he is the greatest ever.

    And Wise Dan came home in 35, so not a great comparison, either. I’m not asking for him to do anything otherworldly, I would just like for at least one of the fractions to be fast before anointing him the greatest horse ever, that’s all. Coming home in 26 is fine if he went out in 23, for example.

  4. Thank you Ross. This bashing seems personal and tacky. Regardless of any Triple Crown in the next weeks, the KD field was soundly thrashed. Get over it.

    • Just what bashing are you referring to SC? When Ross called me ridiculous, or me responding to that by calling him a clown? Please enlighten me.

      You two are what’s wrong with this sport. This ‘how it looks’ bullshit is why trainers have gotten away with liberal use of lasix and bute and God knows what else for decades – because no one is allowed to point to the ever slowing times of our Triple Crown races as a signal that the breed is weakening.

      The horse won, congrats. But winning in such a pedestrian time needs to be addressed. If it was simply a slow performance in a river of faster ones – no big deal. But it’s not, it’s a disturbing trend in our TC races and people like you are covering it up with nonsense.

      That being said; I am glad you are here reading and commenting. I truly am. I would not be able to counter any argument with just a bunch of ‘yes men’ here. It is very much appreciated.

      And it does suck for me to write this post about a class group like those behind California Chrome. But it must be said by someone, for Pete’s sake. When will you wake up? When the Derby is won in 2034 in a time of 2:11 over a fast track will ‘time mean nothing’ then?

  5. Forestwildcat

    The breed and the overall quality of horses in general has been diluted by medication and the lack of serious culling

    • And the lack of conditioning I may add. Look at Assault’s regimen above, that is a TC worthy racehorse. This trend towards ‘freshness’ is code for relying on the nature of the animal to carry the day (and pharmaceuticals), rather than the nurture of a conditioning program like Assaults. One thing is even more apparent the day after the big win: pedigree is meaningless. I do enjoy that part.

      A horse like California Chrome may take a week to gain back the weight loss after a race run with a diuretic administered 4 hours prior to post. One reason why the trainer typically waits 2 weeks after a race before a breeze. Assault had no such issues, I wager he gained his weight back within 36 hours.

      Chrome likely lost 40+ lbs yesterday, in Assaults day I bet they lost less than half that. No way to know of course, did they even have equine scales in the 1940s?

      • Forestwildcat

        Obviously things are a lot different now. Corrective surgeries and abundant medication have created a lot of todays top stallions. Horses that years ago would have been culled/given away without papers are now propped up/made by medication and corrective surgeries and its diluting the breed in the worst way, they just cant take the training like they used too. Its tooth and nail for most of these horses to be able to breeze once a week. Its market driven and the stud farms and sales companies are making a fortune right now but they better enjoy it while they can because when the medication is taken away it will be devastating for them but best for the breed in the long run

      • Its the lack of frequency of training that bugs me. Of course you have problems only going fast once per week. It seems counter intuitive, but going fast 2x per week will cut the injury rate in half. When you only go fast every 7 days you are missing the supercompensation phase of development.

      • Forestwildcat

        And unfortunately when you go fast/work twice a week you cut you number of training horses in half as well

      • I hope you don’t mean the number gets cut in half because of injury? In other countries they go fast 2-3x a week and have a third of our injuries, on turf. Helps to compare apples to apples, nowhere to compare dirt runners as only we have ‘em.

      • Forestwildcat

        It takes a pretty solid horse to turn in two or three legitimate works a week on dirt and there are not many of those around

      • Certainly dirt is the wildcard compared to the rest of the world. I don’t mind some fast work over synthetics in the morning, or on the treadmill. All speed doesn’t HAVE to come over dirt.

        But if the daily gallops have never been over 1.25 miles, you are severely limited in the amount of speedwork you can withstand, agreed. Training horses like in the old days starts before age 2 with daily gallops approaching 3 miles.

        Everyone I know finds the more frequently you work them, the sounder they get. All works don’t have to be 4F+. Lame horses get re-injured in that 4th and 5th furlong quite often, not as much at the start.

  6. I certainly didn’t call Uncle Mo the next Seattle Slew. I never heard that one from anybody. Something weird was always going on with him. A race is equal to 5 works. So Chrome had the Santa Anita Derby, 5 works, and then two works in between so he basically had 7 works in the weeks before the derby. The Derby is another 5 works, and 5 works more than covers the fitness for 2 weeks. All you have to do is be like I’ll Have Another and just strongly gallop to maintain your fitness. I’ll have another didn’t have a work. I’m not saying he didn’t do vigorous exercise but he just strongly galloped every day. Sure they were fast enough to be works but they were just strong gallops. You can’t bash a horse for doing what was asked of him, which is beat everyone else on the track. The job is to win the races and beat the other horses, not to beat Spectacular Bid’s world record for the mile and a quarter, which might never be broken. Although you seem intent on seeing that and all other speed records obliterated yet are too lazy to train a horse yourself and have him prove you right by using your methods to break every world standing world record in the business

  7. And you know we love you Bill and your blog is interesting and makes lots of good points and suggestions, but you’ve gone mad with power over trying to set record times rather than win races.

  8. If he wins the triple crown do we put an asterisk next to his name and point out how slow he was?

  9. Quite honestly I’m somewhat stunned by the demonstrated denial of several commentators, not to polish your back any, but your sentiments concerning the final two legs and the high improbability of a TC Champion were mirror (though you expounded more broadly as well as expertly) my own , one suggestion of the “lack of culling” though possibly somewhat applicable likely if a sharper knife been applied to the herd would have eliminated a ” mediocre stallion and an even more lowly rated mare, my own experience in the world of racing (30 plus yrs) is that many if not most trainers as well as owners haven’t a clue really of what it is they are trying to create or improve, genetic propensity is big in enhancing possibilities, it’s proper conditioning that creates the athlete. I too got incredibly insecure towards CChrome, particularly once arriving at CD’s, which led me to back WS, particularly off his 3 f breeze, but I wasn’t particularly high on him either, Commanding C, was strong physically , yet I used his genetic propensity to convince me to stay on board and the types of work regime as well as racing performance to keep me on board, lacking real enthusiasm for Danza, and his freshness I found him the more likely of many of the others, I utilized ROC as well as Samaarat, the common thread with most was their training regimes, those horses all trained harder for the most part up until Derby week, and the results reflect just that,

    If I am as luck/fortunate in the Preakness and Belmont I’m heading to a two year old sale and buying me some GPS h/r gear and gearing up for arun down the derby trail

    Everyone seems to think their right, few ever consider their wrong!

    Thanks Mr. Pressey ( now I’ll polish your back,) I so enjoy your post, insights and links enlightening my journey through TB Racing

    • Thanks for the comments Rick. There are 2 camps regarding this subject: ours and those of Ross. But ‘ours’ are really those of the previous Triple Crown champs for the most part. I believe the cold hard data is on our side, and the touchy-feely crowd sides with Mr. Ross undoubtedly. I started this blog to get both sides, and to foster discussion. No one is going to change their minds, but the exercise is useful in helping me to learn the other perspective. I advised on a horse last month that won 2 races in 8 days, after winning just one in her last 23. That is what I do. One day I will be involved with a Derby horse, its inevitable. Hopefully you will too!

  10. Yes, he would get an asterisk if his 3 winning times were among the slowest in history. I think that would deserve an asterisk. It’s not simply the total time, its the lack of kick off a slow opening fractions, but I will not belabor the point. Here in Louisville local media was talking of a Triple Crown immediately, and it seemed ridiculous to me. So I wrote this post.

    I was on the backside at CD all week and Chrome never galloped strongly, not once. Some jogs and some jog/slow gallops. That was it. I was there for I’ll Have Another too and there is no comparison. You were not there or you would not claim such inaccuracies.

    I have ‘trained’ an Olympic gold medalist and several professional athletes. I consult with thoroughbred trainers all over the world with regards to equine exercise physiology. There are only a few like me in the world and none in the US. I am not a trainer and never claimed to be – but I do have a specialty.

    In AU one can earn a degree in Equine Exercise Science, but the US is behind the times when it comes to that concept. Lastly, it’s not my concepts that I argue in favor of, but those of the old timers like Max Hirsch and Assault. So when you insult me, you are insulting them.

    You are correct in that Chrome’s 11 races may carry him in today’s environment. However, likely not. He is not conditioned to race 31F in 5 weeks’ time, but then again none are these days. Assault was.

  11. Phillip Haycock

    Hi Bill
    In my view there are one or two sets of data missing.
    What are these horses, old and new, fed and how were they shod.

  12. Your contention that California Chrome is a slow horse, and not a legitimate Triple Crown contender, is based on the raw time in a single race, a race that he won effortlessly, easing at the wire.

    Speaking of raw, unadjusted final times, California Chrome’s time in the 2014 San Felipe (1:40.59) was the fastest ever on a dry Santa Anita track. The record is held by Consolidator, in 2005 (1:40.11), on a sealed track that was labeled “wet fast” that day. California Chrome’s time (1:40.59) was faster than the San Felipe winners who went on to win the Kentucky Derby, namely, Determine (1954, 1:42-2/5), Affirmed (1978, 1:42.60), Sunday Silence (1989, 1:42-3/5), and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000, 1:42.66), and faster than the time of Point Given (2001, 1:42.94), who won the Preakness and Belmont, and was Horse of the Year of 2001.

    California Chrome’s time in the 2014 Santa Anita Derby (1:47.55) was the fastest since Indian Charlie in (1998, 1:47). And before Indian Charlie, the only horse after 1970 who had a better time than California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby was Sham (1973, 1:47). California Chrome’s Santa Anita Derby time was faster than the times of Triple Crown winner Affirmed (1:48), and the times of Triple Crown race winners I’ll Have Another (2012, 1:47.88), Point Given (2001, 1:47.77), A.P. Indy (1992, 1:49.25), Sunday Silence (1989, 1:47-3/5), Winning Colors (1988, 1:47-4/5), Snow Chief (1986, 1:48-3/5), Avatar (1975, 1:47-235), Codex (1980, 1:47-3/5), Majestic Prince (1969, 1:49-2/5), Candy Spots (1982, 1:50-2/5), Swaps (1955, 1:50), Determine (1954, 1:48-4/5), and Hill Gail (1952, 1:50).

    • All good points, but the easing at the wire was what, a few tenths at best? Great horse is Chrome no doubt, but I just don’t think he has it in him to win 3 big races in 5 weeks. Once more, that is nothing against him personally, but more an indictment against the conditioning programs of today. I once again refer you to the regimen of Assault an somewhat indicative of what it takes to accomplish such a feat.

      And he is not ‘slow'; he has very nice top end speed. What he is lacking is stamina, the ability to hold 95% of that speed over 10F. Not to mention 12F. That lack of endurance will also show up when trying to race 31F in 35 days at 12sec/f pace over a track in a different galaxy than SA and CD.

      You have proven that when given today’s rest periods of 3-5 weeks he is quite accomplished, and I have never claimed otherwise. Sherman himself noted worry about coming back to the Derby 3 weeks after the SA version. He was already nervous. Then he shipped for the first time in his life. Then he won at 10F. Now he must ship again. And race again in 14 days, etc. Nervous trainer equals nervous camp equals nervous horse. And under-prepared when viewed against the likes of previous TC winners.

  13. Forestwildcat

    In regards to CC’s final time I was really surprised at the fractions and final time considering that the track had been speed favoring and producing solid times all day. The conspiracy theorist in me says that the powers that be slowed the track down for the Derby so as not to let a horse by a $2,500 stud out of an $8,000 mare win.

    • If the KY breeding industry was in charge of the track maintenance, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. Races on the undercard were faster, no doubt. Now there is a huge 2+ hour gap before the Derby, but in past years (weather permitting) the track behaved as earlier in the day.

      I think this was the first race in 7 years with no precipitation on the day of, and I think it was the warmest temperatures in 12-15 years, if I recall.

  14. One correction to my comment above. Majestic Prince’s time in the 1969 Santa Anita Derby was 1:49-1/5, not 1:49-2/5. He went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

    Regarding California Chrome’s Kentucky Derby: my understanding is that the the track was not watered after the 9th race. The 10th race was run on the turf. Some believe that the track became dry and soft. Coupled with the reported head wind (estimated to be 20-25 mph), this could have slowed the race down.

    I am not certain what Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph think about all of this, but I know that one area where he has a philosophical difference with the Ragozin Sheets is that, unlike Ragozin, Brown will adjust his variant if he believes that the track has changed speeds during the day. See here: https://www.thorograph.com/archive/files/multimedia/Vegas2004/vegas.html

    Re: California Chrome’s Beyer Speed figure of 97. It seems off to me. California Chrome had a 107 and 108 Beyers coming into the race, which are pretty solid for three-year olds today. If Beyer is correct about the 97, then I believe it follows that, based on his numbers, all 19 of the horses regressed in the Kentucky Derby. The odds are probably against that.

    Another comment I would make regarding the raw times. It is my understanding that most major race tracks today have more cushion than they did years ago. For example, Brown claims that “When Secretariat was running, the cushion at NYRA tracks was between 2 3/4 and 3 1/4 inch. It is now about 4 inches.” He wrote that in 2003. If he is correct about that, and if this is also true about Churchill Downs, that puts the 2:03.66 in another light.

    • Butch Lehr longtime superintendent at CD when I told him about the Jerry Brown at BEL comment stated:

      “As far as making tracks deeper now as compared to 20 years ago, I don’t necessarily believe that, If anything, it’s the opposite. I’ve been here a long time and, at Churchill, we haven’t done anything to change the track.”

      Please agree with me that the overall trend through the decades is for ever slower times in the Derby? Can we agree on that point? Chrome is no outlier. When will the final time mean something to you? 2:05 on a fast track, 2:08?

      But I would certainly agree that 19 horses regressing is impossible. Times over dirt on the card earlier were not as slow, I assume that is the main variable Beyer considers. I sat here on my front porch for hours that day, it was quite windy the whole time.

      EDIT: damn right 19 horses regressed: going 10F for the first time in their brief lives carrying 126lbs off of light conditioning? A perfect recipe for regression in my opinion.

      But a headwind down the stretch is a tailwind down the backside….

      • “Please agree with me that the overall trend through the decades is for ever slower times in the Derby? Can we agree on that point? Chrome is no outlier. When will the final time mean something to you? 2:05 on a fast track, 2:08?”

        I have not done a statistical analysis, but I have no reason to disbelieve your contention that the trend through the decades is slower times in the Kentucky Derby. We are forgetting, however, that Alysheba’s time in the 1987 Kentucky Derby, on a fast track, was 2:03-2/5, only 1/5 of a second faster than California Chrome’s time. See here: http://d3b4lt1s53xf6k.cloudfront.net/sites/kentuckyderby.com/files/charts/1987.pdf

        Alysheba won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and finished second by a nose in a photo to Ferdinand in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that year. I believe the consensus is that Alysehba is an all-time great. The Blood-Horse ranked him as the 42nd best American horse of the 20th Century. I think it is fair to say that Alysheba’s time in the 1987 Kentucky Derby was a fluke.

        If California Chrome did not have such sensational and historically fast raw times (and solid Beyer Speed Figures) at Santa Anita, or had he never before even earned a 100 Beyer, then I would agree that the excitement about him is not warranted. But his slow Kentucky Derby time appears to be belied by his performances in the Santa Anita Derby and San Felipe. I think this is a special horse.

        Steve Haskin has a good comment on California Chrome’s time:

        “Alysheba and his crop were considered slow and inferior after a 2:03 3/5 clocking in the Derby (the same as California Chrome) and a final half in :52 2/5 (slower than California Chrome). That is now considered one of the great 3-year-old crops of all time and you can learn more about Alysheba on his plaque in the Hall of Fame. Also up on that wall is Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, who came home his last half in the Derby in :51 3/5, same as California Chrome. Spectacular Bid, who holds the world record for 1 1/4 miles, ran his Derby in 2:02 4/5, with a final half in :50. Canonero II ran his Derby in 2:03 1/5 and everyone was convinced he was nothing more than a slow plodder. Two weeks later he ran the fastest Preakness in history.”

        http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2014/05/06/a-horse-to-soothe-the-soul.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage#ixzz30yn7BMKJ

        “But a headwind down the stretch is a tailwind down the backside….”

        True. But the horses run the backside only one time time in a race.

      • I’ve done the research and the Derby and Belmont are getting slower when times are averaged by decade. Didn’t look at the Preakness. Great points all, but every one of those horses was conditioned much more aggressively than California Chrome. He may very likely be a one in a million talent, but my belief is that his daily gallops and weekly breezes are insufficient to win 31F of races in 5 weeks. I would wager, but could be wrong, that every horse you mentioned above routinely worked miles in 1:40, or longer. Chrome hasn’t done that in his life. Now if, in spite of that, he ran a few ticks quicker last Saturday, I would be trumpeting his chances as good to make history, touting his 11 races in 12 months as proof of his condition. Plus his very own trainer repeatedly expresses his displeasure at having to run every 3 weeks, I don’t take that as a good sign.

        Great horse, miles ahead of his competition today, but has not the conditioning to win a Triple Crown in my opinion. Of course, it goes without saying his competition is historically weak also. So who knows?

      • forestwildcat

        It would be interesting to see the fractions/final times of the other races on the card when Alysheba, Spectacular Bid and Canonero ran

    • forestwildcat

      That would make three hours with no water on the track on a warm windy day, the ninth went off at 3:50 the derby 6:33 – Not good

      • They watered the track during that break, I would be 99% sure. Regardless, I would imagine the track prep was the same for the day before, the Oaks also went off after a long break and the Beyer for that win was a more than respectable 107.

        EDIT: track was watered after the Derby walkover, roughly 30min before the post parade.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

  15. Pressey, up until your idiotic comments today, I had a lot of respect for you. Did you not see he won under wraps. He could have shaved 1-2 sec off the time by holding his 5 length lead and he could have increased that had he wanted, or needed, to. Instead, his jockey was smart and chose not to empty the tank. We know this horse can run fast….did you not see any of his prior wins? Jeeeeez. As Mike Watchmaker stated: “We ask for clarity, so when it comes, we should acknowledge it. California Chrome is THE horse going into this Kentucky Derby. It’s as clear as day.” Post Derby: “California Chrome was the best horse going into the Kentucky Derby, and he was the best horse coming out of it. In a move that has become his signature, California Chrome put his field to sleep, and this Kentucky Derby to rest, with a turn of foot in upper stretch that carried him to an insurmountable lead. It’s the same kind of move California Chrome showed when he won the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. No one else in this Derby field has a move like that, particularly at that point in the race. And no one else in the field had the answer for it.” What is unique about CC is his ability to listen to his jockey. He doesn’t run off or get rank, he knows when Victor takes hold of him to ignore everything else going on around him. He is never in danger of getting caught up in a speed duel or running off and losing a race that way. He lets Victor put him in position to make his run. His intelligence is beyond his years. Too bad you can’t see all of this and enjoy a really neat horse. He really is special.

    • The same subjective, touchy feely bullshit that can be read at any one of 1000+ places. Thanks for your enlightening comments, what a fascinating contribution. 31 racing furlongs in 5 weeks for a trainer that admits he likes to race once every 6-8 weeks. Those are facts.

  16. Did running into a stiff headwind have any bearing on the final time, especially the final quarter? Just asking, as I believe your concerns about conditioning are spot on.

    • Hi Paul. That stiff wind was present all day long, I felt it here 30 miles from the finish line on my front porch. When Beyer assigned a 97 figure to the winner, he takes into consideration all races that day ran into that same wind, I think. Plus, the quarter before the final quarter was also 26, some of that with the wind at their backsides.

      It was quite breezy the day before and the Oaks winner was issued a 107 Beyer. However, it is my belief that if she ran an extra furlong, she would have tired considerably as well – they all do.

      When I look at Swaps and his several works, plus a 6F race 7 days before the Derby, I consider that win more impressive. Even if the final times are the same (they weren’t), a horse than can thrive over 2 races in a week is better than one who only runs one. Similarly, a horse that works 5F the day before a Derby win is more deserving of admiration over one who merely jogs that morning. I realize I may be nearly alone in that opinion, but such is where my biases lay.

      If 2 horses dead heat for a Derby win, and one takes 5 days to gain the weight back he lost from the effort while the other gains his back in 36 hours, the latter is the better athlete in my opinion. Not sure this relates to your question, but it triggered this line of thought.

  17. Pressey is not making this stuff up. All his points are very valid and well backed with facts and data to prove. Drug trainers have ruined the stallion colony. Lasix gives trainers a free pass not to train as hard to properly condition the lungs and bone density. I use Lasix even though my horses have been fitter than the rest because if I don’t, I’m not on a level playing field of legal performance enhancers, I’m ashamed to admit, but this sport has sadly become a business first . As for times, yes, time shouldn’t matter because all you have to do is be a nose faster than the rest of the field. That said, the jockey did say the horse got a little tired and that makes total sense based on the lack of training. Time and training will matter against a more challenging group of horses, but we may not see that until the Belmont when California Chrome will have reversed his fitness with lack of speed work. Blood starts to normalize too. Red cells need to stay in check, but they slow down production when the body quits demanding them frequently. Bill has written some great articles regarding this subject as well. With the thinning out of our drug free quality bloodstock, trainers have eased up on the modern inferior thoroughbred athlete. I train twice as hard as the guy that consistently beats me with his better stock and drug violations, but a fraction as hard as the good old days consisting of 3 works a week and races in between. I have had much success blowing horses out 3-4 furlongs 3 days out along with 1/4 sprints down the lane the morning of the race. I get these guys are afraid to hurt their million dollar horse by training “too hard”, but then again, maybe that’s why they are coming up injured. I deal with cheap claimers who have been reversing their form under my “drilling”, as other trainers like to call it, and have been successful at turning these horses around. I believe the dirt surfaces in the US contribute to a lot of injuries, so my theory is that trainers have had to adapt along with poor breeding by lightening up a bit.

    I will say that I think California Chrome experienced a deeper track at Churchill Downs, which contributed to his crawl home. The fractions he sets at Santana Anita were incredible, but west coast tracks tend to be much faster for whatever reason. Pimlico can be heavy at times and so can the Florida tracks. If California Chrome got something out of the Kentucky Derby then he may be able to make it over the Pimlico surface, but I highly doubt he will come home in 49 or better unless he slows down the pace quite a bit. Based on surface, I like the east coast runners to possibly upset, to cash a ticket. Watch out for Ring Weekend, Kid Cruz, or Social Inclusion.

  18. I have read in several articles that California Chrome is an intelligent horse and will react to his jockey. I think in most races if the jockey has that special link with his horse then we should pay close attention to the reaction of the jockey as they close in to the finish line. .When we see Victor Espinoza mouthing “Go for it”, we will see a new Triple Crown Winner. I have faith in this horse. I can see it in his eyes. If he does not win the Triple Crown, he will still be a winner in the horse racing world.

  19. The author was proven right. There should be no argument that Chrome is not a great horse or worthy of a TC. The clock doesn’t lie, clean races under good conditions should result in better times if the hurse is superior. We all love the Chrome story, but let’s not lower the standards to artificially get TC winners.

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