Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome arrived Sunday at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Kentucky, where he will soon begin his new career as a stallion. California Chrome’s arrival video, courtesy of Taylor Made’s John Hall, is on the TwinSpires.com Facebook page.
California Chrome traveled the day after his anticlimactic career finale in Saturday’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park. Expected to serve up a terrific rematch with his Breeders’ Cup Classic (G) conqueror, Arrogate, the popular chestnut faded to ninth in an effort that was too bad to be true.
The reason was forthcoming that very evening: California Chrome was reportedly off in his right knee.
“We can see he’s a little off in his knee – he has a little fluid, nothing major,” trainer Art Sherman told the Blood-Horse’s Frank Angst. “Maybe he has a small chip in the lower capsule.”
The unfortunate turn of events didn’t affect California Chrome’s shipping plans. Departing Gulfstream Sunday morning, he and Arrogate hopped on the same plane – and flew side-by-side – to Kentucky. There the rivals bid each other adieu, with California Chrome disembarking into retirement, and Arrogate staying aboard for the next leg of his journey home to Santa Anita.
California Chrome was scheduled for X-rays upon his arrival. According to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman, Dr. Larry Bramlage is on the case.
“He’s got some heat and some filling,” Taylor Made’s Frank Taylor told Privman. “He’s sound to walk, but he’s off at the jog. If he’s sound to walk, he’s sound to breed mares.”
Before the breeding season begins in the middle of February, California Chrome will have a little practice in the amorous arts starting later this week. The six-year-old will stand for a fee of $40,000, live foal (stands and nurses).
California Chrome ranks as North America’s all-time leading earner with a bankroll of $14,752,650, and during a Hall of Fame-worthy career, the California-bred compiled a record of 27-16-4-1. His major victories in 2014 include the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1), Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Hollywood Derby (G1), propelling him to the champion three-year-old male title and his first Horse of the Year crown. California Chrome regained Horse of the Year honors for his brilliant comeback in 2016, highlighted by top-level wins in the Dubai World Cup (G1), Pacific Classic (G1) and Awesome Again (G1).