California Chrome, Ride On Curlin to Get some Time Off

California Chrome, Ride On Curlin to Get some Time Off

California Chrome's injured heel was wrapped Sunday, but trainer Art Sherman said the colt was walking well and appeared bright and alert the morning of June 8.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Both California Chrome and Ride On Curlin are expected to have some well-deserved time off after exiting Saturday's Belmont Stakes with an injury and a bleeding episode, respectively.

Trainer Art Sherman said June 8 that Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome was walking well and appeared bright and alert the morning after he was injured in the June 7 Belmont Stakes. He sustained a superficial cut along his tendon and a more serious injury to his right front quarter when Matterhorn clipped his heel coming out of the gate in the race won by Tonalist

The loss, by 1 3/4 lengths in finishing fourth, snapped California Chrome's six-race winning streak by a combined margin of 27 1/2 lengths.

"It took a big chunk out (of his hoof), but we can heal that up," Sherman said. " 'Chrome' is going to have a needed rest; it's been a tough campaign for him."

California Chrome departed from Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York, Sunday to return to his home state. Sherman expects his injury to take at least two or three weeks to heal before he is turned out for some pasture time after the rigors of the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to rest for period of six or seven weeks, which effectively rules out summer racing.

A run in the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, California, is still the goal for the 3-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit, but a prep for that run would likely occur in Southern California.

Sherman, down-to-earth and approachable as always, laid out those plans after returning to the barn to address local and industry media after making an appearance on Good Morning America.

"Hey listen, we'll be here to fight another day, I'm just happy he's all in one piece," Sherman said. "It was kind of scary, you come back to see a horse bleeding from the foot and he's never had anything wrong with him; we've been awful fortunate.

"He's got a lot of talent, he just needs a little time off. This Triple Crown is a rough thing to go through."

Meanwhile Preakness Stakes runner-up Ride On Curlin, who failed to finish Saturday's race, will be getting a break after competing in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Daniel J. Dougherty's son of Curlin bled in the Belmont and was eased at the quarter pole by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

"He bled probably a three out of 10," trainer Billy Gowan said June 8. "He ate everything last night and his legs look good, so that's the main thing. He was going to get a little break anyhow, so maybe it's time to give him one."

Gowan and Ride On Curlin will head back to their base in Kentucky on Monday.

"I'll take him back to the track and see how he is," Gowan said. "Maybe I'll take him to the farm and just kind of see how he's doing. He's a pretty tough horse. He didn't really want to go a mile and a half looking back on it. Anybody can be a Monday morning quarterback, but I probably won't ever run him a mile and a half again."

The Belmont was only the third time Ride On Curlin had finished out of the money, including the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, where he wound up seventh following a tough trip.

"The bleeding is what stopped him," Gowan said. "His head went up and that's a tell-tale sign. The bleeding will stop one dead in their tracks because they can't get their air. Johnny did the right thing. He said at the three-eighths pole he didn't have a lot of horse. He asked him one time and there was nothing there, so he just eased him and I'm glad he did."

Gowan has not looked past the Belmont for Ride On Curlin, who was also second in the April 13 Arkansas Derby and third in the Feb. 17 Southwest, both at Oaklawn Park, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

"We'll look at (the grade I Travers Stakes), but we're going to give him 30 to 45 days off," he said. "It's been a long grind, for me and the horse."

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