California Chrome’s Dam Visiting Tapit in 2016


California Chrome worked before the races at Santa Anita on Jan. 2 as preparation for the San Pasqual next weekend.

By Claire Novak, @BH_CNovak

As the days count down to California Chrome's comeback in the Jan. 9 San Pasqual at Santa Anita Park, the 2014 Horse of the Year's dam (mother) continued her own journey with a trip to Kentucky.

Love the Chase, the Maryland-bred Not for Love mare who was sent to Lucky Pulpit   and produced the winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes, arrived about a month ago at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky. On Jan. 5 the Kentucky operation shared photos of the mare with their social media audience. She will be bred to Tapit for 2016.

"She's really a special mare—she's got a lot of class, she's really a beautiful mare, with a big, soft eye," said Frank Taylor, vice president of boarding operations. "She looks like a producer, and she's settled in real well."

Taylor Made purchased co-breeder Steve Coburn's share in California Chrome last year and will see him race under their ownership, in partnership with Perry Martin, for the first time in the San Pasqual. But Love the Chase is still co-owned by Martin and Coburn, and will simply be boarded at Taylor Made.

"I think she'll stay right here (after breeding) and hopefully we get a good foal out of her, and hopefully California Chrome has a big year," Taylor said.

Love the Chase has produced three full siblings to California Chrome - newly turned 3-year-old Hope's Love, 2-year-old California Chromet (both fillies) and a yearling colt named Faversham - all California-breds, as was their champion brother. Breeding with record-setting Tapit, far and away the leading sire by progeny earnings in 2015 and 2014, will mark the first time Love the Chase has been sent to a stallion other than Lucky Pulpit since the mating that produced California Chrome, and will potentially see her produce a Kentucky-bred for the first time.

With his run in the San Pasqual, California Chrome will gear up for a planned return to Dubai. He is targeting the Dubai World Cup, a race in which he finished second in March 2015; his most recent start.

The brilliant chestnut last breezed six furlongs in an eye-popping 1:10.04 under jockey Victor Espinoza during a special late-morning workout session Jan. 2 at Santa Anita Park. He has come into tremendous condition since rejoining trainer Art Sherman's Los Alamitos base in October after spending time rehabbing at Taylor Made Farm because of bone bruising. His connections, along with his many fans, hope that morning form translates to a solid racing campaign in 2016.

"He just needed a little R&R," Taylor said. "We were feeding him four times a day and we had him turned out like 22 hours a day. He put on about 160 pounds and when we took him out there (to California) he was breathing fire, ready to go. I swear, when we pulled into Los Al it was like he knew where he was; he stuck his head out of the van and came off the ramp full of himself. Since he's been out there he hasn't missed one beat."  

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