WINTER CHALLENGE QUOTES
Art Sherman, trainer California Chrome
“I was pretty nervous before the race. You know your horse is better than the others running in the race, but it is a horse race and anything can happen.
“(Jockey) Victor (Espinoza) rode him with a lot of confidence. You could see he was much the best. I told Victor keep him in the clear and don’t get him in any trouble. He rode him like he was about 10 lengths the best horse. It was just perfect.
“Now I can relax and get ready for the ($12 million) Pegasus (World Cup [G1] on January 28 at Gulfstream Park). I want (Breeders’ Cup Classic [G1] winner) Arrogate bad. I have something in my heart that says Chrome can beat him.
“The atmosphere here was just wonderful. It did my heart really good to be able to run him in front of Orange County people. They are such loyal fans. This was a great day for racing. You can see what happens when you have a star.
“Let’s hope he pulled up well. He looked fine when he came by. I know with his record he will be Older Horse of the Year, but I’m rooting for him to be Horse of the Year. That would be a great way for him to go out.”
Victor Espinoza, jockey California Chrome
“When I got on him today he was stronger and it really surprised me. When that happens I have a lot of confidence. I played it by ear coming out of the gate and when I saw some horses inside of me go, I just decided to sit off them and keep him in the clear.
“He’s very tactical and doesn’t need the lead. It was perfect.”