JC / Railbird

Arlington Million

Heft and Gleam

California Chrome returned to the U.S. on Tuesday, his international adventure over. Four Footed Fotos caught him looking ribby on arrival from Newmarket via Amsterdam, but Marcus Hersh reports that he’s now out of quarantine at Arlington Park and already making a better impression (DRF+):

The long trip home this week surely did not help his appearance, but even after just two days here, the colt appears to be headed the right direction. I saw him this morning as he was being hand-walked by groom Raul Rodriguez around the barn of trainer Chris Block, his new digs upon leaving quarantine, and it sure looked like California Chrome already had added a touch of heft and a bit of gleam to his chestnut coat.

The Coburns released a statement about Chrome’s condition on Facebook:

Many people on several different social media sites have concerns about Chrome’s weight. It is our belief that he needs to put on about 150 pounds. We appreciate all of your concerns and hope that you all know that he is in the best hands with Raul and Anna. His health and well-being is our top concern and we are confident that now that he is home and with people he is familiar with things will only get better.

He’s pointing to the Arlington Million, and jockey Victor Espinoza assures fans: “You better believe I will be riding Chromie in the race.”

The Million is a mere five weeks away, though, and Chrome did miss running at Royal Ascot because of a bruised hoof. “It’s going to be a very tough race,” trainer Art Sherman told Art Wilson last week: “He’s going to have all the Europeans coming for that race. It’s going to be a lot to ask of him, I think, personally. I’m just hoping I can get him fit enough.”

7/14/15 Update: California Chrome is done for the year and may be retired. While being vetted for a potential stud deal (which farm?), a cannon bone bruise was discovered in the 4-year-old colt. It’s a minor injury, but it means at least three months off. Retirement apparently isn’t certain. Per a comment on the DAP Facebook page, which is managed by co-owners Perry and Denise Martin, “No one really knows if Chromes Career is over except for Chrome.”

Tough Luck

That really was a hard-luck half-length loss for Gio Ponti in the Million:

DRF Formulator fractions for the 2010 Arlington Million

Faster than the winner Debussy at the three latter points of call in the 10-furlong race, but it’s the final time (and the trip!) that matters …

Another for the so-close file: If not for Blind Luck’s nose in the Kentucky Oaks, Evening Jewel would be an all Grade 1 Omnisurface Star after taking the Del Mar Oaks by a half-length over American Oaks winner Harmonious. Instead, she dominates the 2+ITM chart. Not for long, I’d wager.

It seems like we have the best 3-year-old filly, right now,” said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after Blind Luck won the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. “[But] I hate to make those kinds of assessments.” There’s no reason for him to feel reluctant, not when his late-running filly overcame an absurdly slow pace (:49.45 for the half, 1:14.81 for three-quarters) to take her third Grade 1 stakes victory of the year. That’s the right kind of tough luck: