Art Sherman Diary: ‘We Are Going to Win the Pegasus’

The Life
California Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman, chats with the media this week at Gulfstream Park leading up to the $12 million Pegasus World Cup. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Art Sherman, whose diary took followers of America’s Best Racing through California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid in 2014, agreed to one last installment with Tom Pedulla as Chrome closes his legendary career in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

I know this is a big statement, but I think this is the best I’ve ever had California Chrome, physically and mentally. He’s just a lot of horse right now. Physically, he looks great. He’s just matured into quite a beast. I can tell he is sitting on a big race.

California Chrome at Gulsftream. (Eclipse Sportswire)

He will have to be since we were unlucky at the draw, getting stuck on the far outside in post 12. It’s a pretty short run into that first turn at Gulfstream Park, so Victor Espinoza will have to ask Chrome a bit getting out of there. Fortunately, Chrome is pretty much a push-button horse. He has the speed to clear at least half the field in the early going.

I suspect we will be a bit wide around the first turn. That is OK as long as we can stay out of trouble, which we should, and have a clear run at it. Arrogate drew the rail. I look for him to roll out of there. There are a couple of horses with the ability to push Arrogate along. If no one does, we will get to him as quickly as possible. We’re not going to let him just gallop on the lead, I promise you that. We’ll be dogging him by the three-eighths pole, I’m quite sure.

One of the best aspects of Chrome is his willingness to respond to whatever is needed. If that means being on the lead, he’s there. If it means sitting off the pace, he relaxes. He is such a classy horse. He has the best attitude of anybody on the team. Nothing bothers him. We’ve been all over the world with him and he took everything in stride.

And did I mention he’s fast? That helps. I think back to some of his biggest races, the Santa Anita Derby, the Pacific Classic and even that last race, when he set a track record at Los Alamitos. With his awesome turn of foot, he made everyone else look as though they were standing still.

I think the Pegasus is a great addition to the racing calendar. In only its first year, it already is creating a great deal of interest. Chromies are arriving from all parts of the country. They are good people, a lot of fun to be around. They sure contributed to this wonderful journey.

Chrome loves the attention. When I saddle him, there are so many eyes on us that I often feel as though we are the only horse in the paddock.

Chrome nearing final start. (Eclipse Sportswire)

I am filled with emotion as I look to the end of Chrome’s racing career. I watched him being bathed the other day and it hit me. ‘Wow, I won’t be able to see him anymore.’ Sure, we’ll visit him at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, but it won’t be the same.

I have a room full of trophies, a golden whip from the Dubai World Cup, things I never thought would come my way. Through the years, my clients would pay $50,000, $70,000 for a horse. That was a lot of money. I was grateful for their business and their trust in me.

Chrome, bred for a total cost of $10,500 and with earnings of $14.5 million and looking for more, shows great horses can come from anywhere. But it sure helps to have major players in the game as owners. Thanks to Chrome, I have one now in Kaleem Shah. I hope we will do well together. I think we will.

I may be 79, but I am not too old to continue to dream big and to think about what a thrill it would be to train some of Chrome’s babies, to see if they would have the same class and, of course, that speed that makes others look as though they are standing still.

We still have unfinished business with Chrome. That loss to Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic has been eating at me since it happened.

We are going to win the Pegasus. I have all the confidence in Chrome. He is going to show everyone who is number one.

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