By Kelley Carlson
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday, defeating five other sophomores en route to victory in the Grade I, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.
He kicked away from his rivals on the turn for home and finished 2 lengths in front of the filly Lexie Lou, who had earlier this year defeated males in the Queen’s Plate (Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby).
Talco picked up the show spot, a length farther back.
California Chrome, piloted by Victor Espinoza, completed the 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1:47.88; it was his first race on the grass.
“We’ve got a lot of options (for next year),” said trainer Art Sherman, a Rancho Bernardo resident. “Royal Ascot wants us to come over to England. They said, ‘We’ll treat you royally.’ And we’ve got Dubai (World Cup) in March. That’s another option. We’re going to definitely run him another year. And he’s a good shipper. He gets on an airplane like he’s a frequent flier.”
The popular chestnut is owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin.
Other winners during Del Mar’s closing weekend were La Tia (Grade I, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes), Finnegans Wake (Grade II, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup), Kaigun (Grade II, $250,000 Seabiscuit Handicap), Conquest Typhoon (Grade III, $150,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes), Big Cazanova (Grade III, $200,000 Native Diver Stakes) and Ol’ Fashion Gal (Grade III, $150,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes).