Throughout dual-classic winner California Chrome’s run
through the Triple Crown races this season, Steve Coburn, the colt’s co-owner
and co-breeder along with Perry Martin, talked about how they felt like they
had a classic winner, and perhaps a Triple Crown winner, from the start.
California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum!
Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) before finishing in a dead-heat for
fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). While Coburn said they had Triple Crown
dreams from the start, the partners also were thinking about the Breeders’ Cup
World Championships for their foal.
There’s evidence of that early Breeders’ Cup dream. Perry
Martin fully nominated California-bred California Chrome to the Breeders’ Cup,
an extra investment of $500 (that also was the first year of a $100 deduction for
registering online) for the first foal out of the Not For Love mare, Love the
Considering they had only $10,500 into the new foal as they
paid $8,000 for Love the Chase and a $2,500 stud fee to send her to Lucky
Pulpit, another $500 marked a sizeable commitment for the mare’s first foal. But
that payment has proven wise. California Chrome is fully eligible for the $5
million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) or any other Breeders’ Cup race this year--or any other year--the son of Lucky Pulpit races.
Back in training at Los Alamitos Racecourse, California Chrome’s
next start has not been announced but two of the races being considered by Art Sherman
are the Los Alamitos Mile Sept. 20 or the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) Sept 27 at
Santa Anita Park, which is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to the Classic.
Californian Chrome - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo
Opportunity for 3-year-olds
After an off-the-board finish by Palace Malice in the
Whitney Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 2 at Saratoga Race Course and an unsettled handicap
division on the West Coast, the Classic could be ripe for one of this year’s
3-year-olds. Leading the way at this point in terms of Classic possibilities are
California Chrome, Belmont winner Tonalist, William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I)
winner Bayern, last year’s champion 2-year-old male Shared Belief, and Jim
Dandy Stakes (gr. II) winner Wicked Strong.
Any of those top 3-year-olds or perhaps a party crasher will
try to become the 10th 3-year-old to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic,
which will return to Santa Anita Park this season. California Chrome and
Tonalist will try to join Sunday Silence, Unbridled, A.P. Indy, and Curlin as
the only U.S. classic winners to take the Breeders’ Cup Classic in their
When Tiznow won the Classic in 2000, he was the seventh 3-year-old
to win the race since its 1984 debut, but just two sophomores have won the race
since then. Since 2001, the only U.S.-based 3-year-old to win the Classic is
Curlin in 2007. European-based Raven’s Pass won the Classic in 2008 at age 3.
A look at how each of the 3-year-olds to win the Classic
came into the race serves as reminder that sophomores have found Classic
success after a wide variety of campaigns.
Raven’s Pass, 2008 at
Santa Anita Park: Raven’s Pass entered
off victories in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) and the Totesport
Celebration Mile Stakes (Eng-II) at Goodwood. All seven of his 2008 races in Europe before the Classic were
at one mile on the turf. The 1 ¼-mile race on the then synthetic surface at
Santa Anita marked the longest race of his career.
Curlin, 2007 at
Monmouth Park: Like Unbridled and Sunday Silence, Curlin raced in all three
legs of the Triple Crown in his 3-year-old season. The Preakness Stakes (gr. I)
winner received nearly a two-month rest after his narrow loss to Rags to Riches
in the Belmont before coming back Aug. 5 with a third-place finish in the
Haskell before a victory in the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Sept. 29
at Belmont Park.
2007 Breeders' Cup Winner Curlin - Jeffrey Snyder Photo
Churchill Downs: As he didn’t win his first career race until May 31,
Tiznow didn’t compete in the Triple Crown races. The son of Cee’s Tizzy
prepared for the first of his two Breeders’ Cup Classic victories with a steady
3-year-old campaign. He raced eight times from April 22 to Oct. 15, defeating
older horses in the Oct. 15 Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa
Anita before winning the Classic Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Cat Thief, 1999,
Gulfstream Park: Remarkably, in Cat Thief’s first 11 starts as a 3-year-old
he failed to win a single stakes race. But his 12th start of the
season proved to be a good time for his first stakes win of 1999 as he scored a
clear victory in the Classic at Gulfstream Park. In the spring, the son of
Storm Cat started in the Preakness and the Derby, where he finished third. He entered
off a third in the Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 25 at Turfway
Churchill Downs: In the Triple Crown season, the only classic start for
Concern was the Preakness, where he finished third. His first start against
older horses came in the Classic but a season that saw the son of Broad Brush
start 13 times before his Breeders' Cup Classic win
gave him plenty of experience.
A.P. Indy, 1992,
Gulfstream Park: After his clear victory in the Belmont Stakes, A.P. Indy
didn’t start again until the Sept. 13 Molson Export Million Stakes (Can-II)
where he finished off the board against other 3-year-olds. He then faced older
horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he finished third, but three weeks
later he would cap his career with the two-length Classic win. A.P. Indy is the
only Belmont winner to win the Classic at age 3.
Unbridled, 1990, Belmont
Park: Derby winner Unbridled closed out the Triple Crown season with a
runner-up finish in the Preakness and a fourth in the Belmont. After more than
two months rest, he would return with an allowance win at Arlington Park on
Aug. 18 followed by two September starts: a runner-up finish in the Secretariat
Stakes (gr. IT) on the turf at Arlington and a second-place finish in the Super
Sunday Silence, 1989,
Gulfstream Park: Like California Chrome, Sunday Silence won the first two
legs of the Triple Crown. He then finished second to Easy Goer in the Belmont
but would turn the tables on that rival in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. While Sunday
Silence would return about six weeks after the Belmont with a runner-up finish
in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II), he would then receive two months off before
winning the Super Derby about five weeks before his Classic score.
1989 Breeders' Cup Classic Winner Sunday Silence - Tony Leonard Photo
Proud Truth, 1985,
Aqueduct: Proud Truth had what amounted to a split season in 1985. Off the
board in the Derby, he raced eight times in the winter and spring of his
3-year-old season, capped with a win in the May 26 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. I) at
Belmont. The son of Graustark didn’t race again until a pair of October wins,
including a score in the 1 1/8-mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct
just one week before the Classic there.
This week’s Challenge
The schedule of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races emphasizes
turf events this weekend with the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) and the
Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 16 at Arlington Park, which are “Win and You’re
In” races for the Turf (gr. IT) and Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), respectively;
as well as the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at
Deauville, which awards a spot in the Mile (gr. IT).
Automatic Bids by State or Country Bred
Automatic Bids Earned Through Challenge Wins