ELMONT, N.Y. - Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome took a brief detour to school in the starting gate around 6:40 Friday morning before galloping around the Belmont Park oval.
With New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) starter Roy Williamson supervising, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was loaded into a stall in the starting gate on the backstretch, where he stood quietly for several moments with his hind end pressing against the back of the gate.
"He was perfect in the gate," said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome. "I just wanted [the gate crew] to make sure he's square; he has a tendency to spread his front feet when he's in the gate. My main concern is that he stays square. I may take him another time next week."
After being led out, California Chrome went off on his daily gallop under exercise rider Willie Delgado, going just under 1 Â½ miles, slightly less than he had been galloping on previous mornings.
On Saturday morning, California Chrome will finally get to stretch his legs in an official workout. The chestnut colt is set to breeze four furlongs at 6:30 a.m. with regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard, according to Sherman.
"He's ready to work; he's climbing out of his skin right now," said Sherman. "Once Victor [Espinoza] gets on him he'll know it's time to work."
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