With the pressure off of Art Sherman, he was early to work today to check on his budding star California Chrome. He reports that all is well.
“He came out of the race good; he looked good this morning,” Sherman said. “I was here really early to make sure. You get a little nervous thinking about it.
“I’m not making any plans, you know what I mean? I’m in the Derby now; I’ve got enough points. That took a lot of pressure off me. I’m just going to play it by ear. There is a chance we might go to the Santa Anita Derby. The horse has to let me know. He came out of the race good, he ate up last night. I was happy. He’s a cool horse. I just don’t want to do too much with him. We’re on the Derby Trail, and I know it’s tough. I’ve been there before as a kid with other people’s horses, but I know how grueling it is getting up to that point.”
As a teenager, Sherman, 77, went to work for Rex Ellsworth and accompanied the mighty California-bred Swaps to the Derby in 1955 and later to Chicago for his match race against the Nashua.
Now California Chrome will seek to become the first Cal-bred to win the Derby since Decidedly in 1962.
“He looked like Swaps turning down the lane," Sherman said. "I was amazed. You think a horse might win by a length or two. I’m not used to seeing him draw off by five or six. He’s peaking at the right time. The horse has been super, he’s putting on weight, he looked excellent in the paddock. I said, ‘My, he looks like a race horse today.’”
Sherman isn't cocky, just hopeful.
“I still have to go to Kentucky and try the big boys,” he said. “So far, all this has been great, not only for me and the horse, but for Steve (Coburn) and Perry (Martin). We’re just a mom and pop operation.”
Added Victor Espinoza, “Yesterday was his most impressive race since I’ve been riding him, but I believe he still has more left. I just took it easy with him yesterday. I think he’ll be even better at a mile and a quarter. We’ll find out how good he is as we go along, but he’s an amazing horse right now.”
Edited Santa Anita release