CALIFORNIA CHROME dominated Saturday’s $300,000 Gr1 Awesome Again Stakes over 1700m at Santa Anita, proving that he’s the highest-ranked horse in the world.

Leaving the first turn, Chrome and runner-up Dortmund had 10 lengths on the small field of five. By the half-mile mark, Chrome eased ahead of his rival and the race was effectively over.

“He just coasted home and Victor Espinoza wanted to save him for the Breeders’ Cup,” co-owner Perry Martin said. “It’s just a real nice prep for us. I think it will sharpen him up even more. The best is yet to come.”

Almost as amazing as this equine rock star is his ever growing entourage. Inside the paddock, people were two or three deep to try to get a picture of him walking the ring. That’s only the people allowed into the paddock, not fans, who were lined up on the outside six deep.

A conservative estimate of 50 were in the Chrome travelling party in the paddock and the group grew to about 70 in the winner’s circle after the race. Highly unusual, some of his entourage, including Martin, watched the race from the winner’s circle. Talk about tempting fate.

As Chrome turned for home, assistant trainer Alan Sherman was lightly restrained by police for his own safety as he was getting too far on the dirt course, arms raised in anticipated victory.

Afterward, Martin, proudly wearing a red, white and blue “Vote Chrome for President” button, launched into a network-worthy stump speech for his horse.

California Chrome will head back across town to Los Alamitos, his usual home, to train up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on 5 November. He’ll settle in to the special double-wide stall built especially for him and he’ll munch on his favourite brand of cookies from whoever will give him one.

“I know the Breeders’ Cup will be a lot tougher, but, hey, bring ‘em on baby,” Sherman said with flair. “I’m ready.  I don’t care who they got. Bring anybody.”

-From LA Times.

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