Steve Coburn and Perry Martin's Kentucky Derby hero California Chrome galloped 1 1/2 miles with Willie Delgado aboard shortly before 7 a.m. (EDT) Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
California Chrome stood in the gap leading to the track for about five minutes and did not move a muscle as photographers recorded the scene and horses went to and from the track. After the exercise, California Chrome walked quietly back to Barn 20.
"His temperament is excellent," said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, who is back at Los Alamitos and will reunite with the Derby winner in Baltimore next week. "He got a little fired up on the walkover (before the Derby) but he settled down once he got in the paddock."
California Chrome's final time in the 1 1/4-mile Derby of 2:03.66 was the slowest on a fast track since Cannonade (2:04) in 1974.
"I think he just tolerated the track," Sherman said. "This track is deeper and sandier than at Los Alamitos and the dirt is different. It is a lot darker at home. But, they don't pay any more to break track records."
California Chrome is expected to ship to Maryland at the earliest on Monday if the charter flight is available. For Delgado, it is a trip back home; for Alan Sherman, it's a first.
"Never been there," Sherman said. "I think my dad rode at Bowie. I am 45, and that was long before I was around."
At this point, California Chrome and Ride On Curlin, seventh in the Run for the Roses, appear to be the only Kentucky Derby runners lining up for the Preakness. Of the nine in the prospective field, they are the most experienced: California Chrome has 11 starts and Ride On Curlin has 10.
"The seasoning definitely helps and I think it is a big advantage," trainer Billy Gowan said of his battle-tested colt. "Now if we can get a little more early pace this time; it may not hurt him (California Chrome), but it will help us."
Ride On Curlin has the same exercise rider as 2001 Derby winner Monarchos (Coady Photography)Owned by Daniel Dougherty, Ride On Curlin repeated his exercise program of Wednesday by walking to the track from Barn 47 at Churchill Downs to the six-furlong gap where exercise rider Bryan Beccia hopped aboard and then followed with an easy gallop of 1 1/8 miles.
"He'll do the same thing tomorrow then Saturday gallop two miles and maybe pick it up late," Gowan said. "Sunday and Monday will be easy gallops and the first day at Pimlico on Tuesday will be an easy mile and then an easy half-mile breeze on Wednesday. I don't have to do too much with him."
Dougherty, who will have two two-year-olds joining the Gowan barn soon, is slated to arrive in Baltimore Tuesday for his initial visit to Pimlico. Beccia, however, has been to Pimlico before as the exercise rider for 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.
Monarchos ran the second-fastest Derby in history, but failed to reproduce that form in the Preakness, finishing sixth behind Point Given, a colt he had beaten by 11 1/2 lengths in the Derby.
"Monarchos came out of the Derby just as good as Ride On Curlin," Beccia said. "Monarchos shipped good and trained well. He was a happy horse and you can look at pictures of him galloping in the stretch with his ears pricked.
"Unfortunately, the real Point Given showed up (at the Preakness). Hopefully, after the Preakness and Belmont, the real Ride On Curlin will have shown up."
Three new shooters stabled at Churchill Downs put in routine 1 1/2-mile gallops Thursday morning over a fast track as they continued their Preakness preparations.
Kaleem Shah's Bayern galloped after the renovation break with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up for trainer Bob Baffert. Bayern is scheduled to work Monday.
Baffert, a five-time Preakness winning trainer, is following a pattern he has used for his past five Preakness starters by having them train at Churchill Downs for a week and a half after the Kentucky Derby and ship to Baltimore the Wednesday before the race.
Baffert's five Preakness victories are good for a tie for third all-time behind only Robert Walden (seven) and D. Wayne Lukas, who got his sixth last year with Oxbow. Baffert is tied with Thomas Healey. Lookin at Lucky in 2010 is Baffert's most recent Preakness winner.
John Oxley's Illinois Derby winner Dynamic Impact galloped before the renovation break under exercise rider Marco Cano. Trained by Mark Casse, , who has not had a Preakness starter, Dynamic Impact is scheduled to work Saturday at Churchill Downs with jockey Miguel Mena slated to be in the saddle.
Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable's Ria Antonia galloped under Maurice Sanchez early Thursday morning for new trainer Tom Amoss.
After finishing sixth in last Friday's Kentucky Oaks, Ria Antonia was moved from Baffert's barn to Amoss, who trains a string of horses for Ron Paolucci (of Loooch Racing).
"That's the first time I have had one moved into my barn that close to a Grade 1 race," said Amoss, who has Ria Antonia scheduled for a Monday work.
However, Ria Antonia was not a total unknown to Amoss.
"I did not see her last fall when she was in the Breeders' Cup, but I got to watch her train for two weeks before the Oaks when she came out in the 8:30 time slot (reserved for Oaks and Derby horses)," Amoss said. "She was very impressive and that is what I want to see now."