Chrome schools in Belmont starting gate - NBC Sports

Chrome schools in Belmont starting gate
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May 31, 2014, 2:00 am

Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome took a brief detour to school in the starting gate around 6:40 a.m. (EDT) Friday morning before galloping around the Belmont Park oval.

With New York Racing Association (NYRA) starter Roy Williamson supervising, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was loaded into a stall in the starting gate on the backstretch, where he stood quietly for several moments with his hind end pressing against the back of the gate.

"He was perfect in the gate," said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome. "I just wanted (the gate crew) to make sure he's square; he has a tendency to spread his front feet when he's in the gate. My main concern is that he stays square. I may take him another time next week."

After being led out, California Chrome went off on his daily gallop under exercise rider Willie Delgado, going just under 1 1/2 miles, slightly less than he had been galloping on previous mornings.

On Saturday morning, California Chrome will finally get to stretch his legs in an official workout. The chestnut colt is set to breeze four furlongs at 6:30 a.m. with regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard, according to Sherman.

"He's ready to work; he's climbing out of his skin right now," said Sherman. "Once Victor (Espinoza) gets on him he'll know it's time to work."

In other Belmont news:

Belmont Stakes hopeful Commanding Curve arrived in Elmont, New York, early in the afternoon on Thursday and appears in great shape for the June 7, 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion."

"Everything was good (with shipping in)," said the colt's trainer, Dallas Stewart. "He's really an easy horse to be around and can do a lot of things. With every track he's been to, he's handled it well, so Belmont should be no different."

Commanding Curve has not raced since finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, when he was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by California Chrome. The son of Master Command, who was third in the Louisiana Derby and is seeking his first stakes win in the Belmont, will get an opportunity to work over the Belmont main track on Sunday, going either four or five furlongs, according to Stewart.

Kid Cruz remains possible for the Belmont Stakes after breezing six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 Friday morning over the fast Belmont training track for trainer Linda Rice. The Lemon Drop Kid colt was claimed for $50,000 in November 2013, and won a pair of stakes races in Maryland earlier this year before finishing eighth in the Preakness.

"He worked well," Rice remarked. "Typically I work him in company; he's the type of horse that's always trained better in company. He worked six furlongs in 1:14 and 3/5. It was OK; we're going to see how he does out of the breeze and then decide if we're going to go on to the Belmont, probably by Sunday."

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