Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will make his turf debut in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. A neck third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Art Sherman-trained colt can make a push for Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old male with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair.
“I want to run him on the grass,” Sherman said. “It will give me a lot of options when he runs next year as a four-year-old. And he’s got a chance at Horse of the Year (for 2014).”
The California-bred colt would become the seventh horse to race at Del Mar after winning the Kentucky Derby, joining Gato Del Sol (1982 Kentucky Derby winner), Ferdinand (1986), Unbridled (1990), Silver Charm (1997), War Emblem (2002) and Giacomo (2005). A son of Lucky Pulpit, California Chrome drew post No. 5 with regular rider Victor Espinoza and is scheduled to meet five three-year-old rivals.
However, the filly Lexie Lou, winner of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and most recently the Autumn Miss at Santa Anita, is cross-entered to Sunday’s Grade 1 Matriarch for fillies and mare on turf. The Hollywood Derby is one of three stakes on the penultimate day of Del Mar’s Bing Crosby Season along with the Native Diver, a Grade 3 event at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack; and Jimmy Durante, a one-mile Grade 3 turf affair for three-year-old fillies.
Friday’s eight-race card features the Grade II, $250,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for three-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles over the turf course. Sunday’s closing day card is highlighted by the Grade I, $300,000 Matriarch for fillies and mares and Grade III, $150,000 Cecil B. DeMille for two-year-olds – both at a mile over the turf course.