California Chrome, already the top rated racehorse in the world seeks to add to his resume in the Breeders Cup Classic run at Santa Anita on November 5th. He is a solid favorite off his current form in the 5 million dollar race that usually decides Horse of the Year. An award he has won once already in 2014 as a 3 year old when he narrowly missed his bid to become a Triple Crown winner running a close 4th in a troubled trip Belmont Stakes.
Now 5 years old and stronger and better than he has ever been he looks like an easy winner on paper. Races aren't won on paper though and he will have to beat some good ones such as Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, top handicap horse Frosted and impressive Travers Stakes winner and track record breaker at Saratoga, Arrogate.
Others include hard knockers Effinex (named for an ex wife, get it?) Shaman Ghost and Hopportunity. Also Keen Ice who beat Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. There is shipper and Irish bred Found too, plus some live longshots. It should be a good one.
California Chrome who has won the Dubai World Cup already this year ($10 million race) has been an unbelievable story. The very modestly California bred horse nearly won a Triple Crown although 12 furlongs (1 1/2 miles) the Belmont distance may have been a bit too long for his liking. At 10 furlongs (1 1/4 mile) the distance of the Classic, he seems unbeatable. In fact he looks so good right now 12 furlongs could easily be in his wheelhouse too but he only needs to go the 10.
Chrome can join the legends like Secretariat, Kelso, Forego, Affirmed, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid in status if he can win the Classic. He also will have an opportunity to run in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup in January to be run at Gulfstream Park in Florida. That race will replace the Dubai World Cup as the richest race in the world with a $12 million purse. He will be 6 years old and is a rarity in today's game where horses are usually retired for stud duty at age 3 and 4 where they are far more valuable to their owners. He has to do it on the race track but if he could pull off both races along with his Dubai World Cup win he could make a case for being the best horse of all time.
Old timers like myself don't really think he could actually beat legends mentioned above but if he wins both, he would certainly be in discussions like Ruth or Mays and Jack Nicklaus or Tiger. Gretzky or Bobby Orr. A generational argument. One thing is sure. He would be the richest horse ever by far. He already is. And he still will go to stud despite his modest breeding. A great rags to riches story already, regardless of the outcome of these two races.