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Preakness Next For Derby Champ

Tuesday, 6th May 2014

Trainer Art Sherman confirmed Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) was doing well Sunday morning and plans were for the chestnut colt to line up in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Gr1 Preakness Stakes, at Pimlico on 17 May, reports thoroughbreddailynews.com. "He left just a handful of grain in his tub last night, but that's all," Sherman reported. "His appetite was good. He got a little tired, but not too bad. Victor [Espinoza] told me yesterday that he did get a bit tired on him at the end, that he eased him a bit that last 70 yards. He said he didn't ask him for too much thinking about saving something for the next one, for the Preakness." Sherman said that California Chrome would remain at Churchill Downs for four or five days before making the trip to Baltimore. However, the burden of expectation that inevitably attaches to a Derby winner seems to be weighing on Sherman, who implied that the allure of Triple Crown glory was the only reason the colt would be backing up in two weeks time. "To be honest, I'm not real comfortable with running him back in two weeks, but I know that's what we're bound to do. I'm more the kind of guy who likes to wait seven or eight weeks between races. These horses run hard and they need time to recover." The oldest trainer at age 77 to ever train a Derby winner was justifiably proud of his charge. "I'm really happy for this horse and what he did," Sherman said. "I know there was talk here that he wasn't really a good horse, that he was only a California horse. I knew he was a really good horse, but now everyone else does, too." Figures released by Churchill Downs show that the Kentucky Derby still holds a special place in the hearts of US sporting fans, with Saturday's crowd of 164,906 the second highest in Derby history.

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