Chrome nosed out in Classic

ARCADIA, Calif. — Art Sherman was delighted when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome drew post 13 for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

It turned out to be an ideal spot as California Chrome, co-owned by Topaz Lake’s Steve Coburn, finished third in his first race against older rivals on Saturday at Santa Anita.

“I thought he had a good trip,” Sherman said. “No excuses. My horse ran his eyeballs out. He was right there, right down to the money. I thought it was a great effort. He came back strong.”

Most trainers fear an outside slot in a bulky 14-horse field.

Not the 77-year-old Sherman, who felt his 3-year-old was compromised by inside posts in the Belmont Stakes and the Pennsylvania Derby, both losses.

The outside post was lucky for Chrome in the Classic, keeping him well clear of a chaotic start that compromised several horses to his inside.

Chrome responded with his best effort since winning the Preakness. Jockey Victor Espinoza kept him parked wide in third throughout the 1 1/4-mile race, free of traffic trouble and always in range of the pacesetting Bayern.

Chrome launched a determined rally in the stretch, forcing his way into a three-way photo finish. Bayern held on by a nose over Toast of New York, with California Chrome a neck back in third.

“The outside post definitely helped me get the position I wanted, I had a good trip,” Espinoza said.

It was a solid ending to a demanding eight-race campaign that included a victory here in the Santa Anita Derby.

And it might have kept him on the racetrack for another season.

Co-owner Perry Martin had said California Chrome would be retired if he did not perform well in the Classic.


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