July 23rd 2016
Those in attendance today at the “Turf by the Surf” witnessed one of the best horse races of the year thus far. The 2016 San Diego Handicap was easily the best horse race we have seen in the older horse division. But probably more importantly, they witnessed vintage California Chrome. Just like fine wine, California Chrome keeps getting better and better with age.
In my previous blog, I thought an upset was in store. Dortmund had been unbeatable through races under 9 furlongs and had the more favorable starting position. But I acknowledged that California Chrome was undoubtedly the best racehorse in the world even if Longines World’s Best Racehorse voters were on vacation on several levels in their last poll. And California Chrome proved today that he is the best racehorse in the world in active training. This wasn’t Chrome’s most ideal distance but he overcame and displayed a fight that we had never seen before. See race video below.
If you are Bob Baffert, you’ve got to be pleased with the effort Dortmund put out. Many thought this was a huge task for Dortmund coming off an 8 month layoff to try to beat the best horse in active training in the world.
If you watch the replay, Dortmund had a narrow lead after one mile, both horses battled down the stretch. Dortmund looked prime to win “on the bob” about 10-15 yards from the finish line but California Chrome pushed forward and won by a 1/2 length at the wire. Dortmund’s career fastest time through 8 1/2 furlongs was 1:40.86 (2014 Los Alamitos Futurity). California Chrome beat Dortmund with a winning time of 1:40.84.. It was a thrilling race and we should expect to see these two great horses to meet up again in the future. It appears that it will be in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar with Beholder. That will be an absolute barn burner.