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Del Mar

California Chrome wins again

California Chrome at the Del Mar racetrack paddock.
California Chrome at the Del Mar racetrack paddock.
(Kelley Carlson)

People crowded around the Del Mar racetrack paddock late Saturday afternoon to get a glimpse of California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion and racing’s all-time leading money winner in North America. “Chrome” did not disappoint, as he fought Dortmund down the homestretch to win the Grade II, $200,000 San Diego Handicap by a half-length. It was an additional 7 1/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Win the Space. The 5-year-old California Chrome, piloted by Victor Espinoza, traveled the 1 1/16 miles on the dirt in 1:40.84. “They both ran terrific,” said Chrome’s trainer, Rancho Bernardo resident Art Sherman, of his horse and Dortmund. “I tell you, Dortmund made him work for it. … I think both horses needed a race, and you’ll see two stronger horses coming back in the Pacific Classic (on Aug. 20). (Chrome) is that kind of horse, he loves to grind it out, and he shows a lot of determination.”

In the supporting feature on Saturday, Mokat notched her first stakes victory, in the Grade II, $200,000 San Clemente Handicap on the turf.

Other stakes winners during the week included Hard Aces (Grade III, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap), Patriots Rule ($150,690 California Dreamin’ Stakes), Enola Gray ($150,000 Fleet Treat Stakes) and Pretty N Cool ($77,600 C.E.R.F. Stakes, co-owned by part-time Del Mar resident Mike Pegram).

Next Saturday is expected to be an anticipated rematch between champions Beholder and Stellar Wind in the Grade I, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. When they last met in the Grade I, $400,000 Vanity Mile at Santa Anita racetrack in June, Beholder was the victor.

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