Facing perhaps half as many horses as he did in the Run for the Roses but twice as much pace, unlike his last five races, all daylight victories, the second leg of the Triple Crown could present a challenge for streaking California Chrome when the Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby winner runs in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

“Some think with (new shooters) Social Inclusion and Bayern in the race, it might hinder California Chrome, but I don’t think that at all,” said private clocker Gary Young. “He doesn’t need the lead. As long as he’s able to run back in two weeks I think he’s going to be awful tough to beat.

“People always say the Preakness is a speed horse’s race, but they’ve still got to run a mile and three-sixteenths, and that’s a lot further than a lot of horses want to run. It’s yet to be proven, but Bayern and Social Inclusion might be in that group.

“They’re both very talented horses but they’ve got to prove they can run that far.”

In other Preakness news:

California Chrome is scheduled to go to the Churchill Downs track slightly earlier than usual to gallop tomorrow, about 6:30 a.m. He’ll load onto a van at 10 o’clock for the airport in Lexington with groom Raul Rodriguez and exercise rider Willie Delgado. The flight is scheduled to leave Lexington at 12:30 p.m. and arrive in Maryland at 2 p.m.

Victor Espinoza, unbeaten on California Chrome since he began riding him five races back, including the Kentucky Derby, will be presented an Anaheim Ducks’ jersey bearing the number five (his post position in the Run for the Roses) at Game 5 of the Ducks-Los Angeles Kings National Hockey League playoff game Monday night at the Honda Center.

On Tuesday, according to his agent, Brian Beach, Espinoza will visit cancer patients at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, ride at Santa Anita Thursday, leave that night for Baltimore, and ride Friday and Saturday at Pimlico, including La Mejor Fiesta for trainer Wesley Ward in the Grade II, $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at nine furlongs on Friday.


Plan now to celebrate Preakness Stakes Day next Saturday at Santa Anita and root on the Golden State’s Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome in the second leg of the Triple Crown, and also wager on a live racing card at The Great Race Place.

Fans can party in the Infield and enjoy live music, craft beers and repast from a variety of food trucks. Special packages are available on line at Use promo code INFIELD for a 50 percent discount.

The first 10,000 THOROUGHBREDS members, or any new members who wish to sign up on May 17, attending Santa Anita on Preakness Day will receive a free California Chrome baseball cap with paid General Admission, while supplies last. It is free to sign up at all admission gates. The cap is a replica of California Chrome’s distinctive purple and teal colors.

First live race post time at Santa Anita Preakness Day will be 11:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 8 a.m.


Thunder Road Stakes winner Tom’s Tribute worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Sunday under Mike Smith in 50.20, but trainer Jim Cassidy was undecided on whether the 4-year-old Lion Heart colt would run in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 American Stakes at one mile on turf or wait for the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on turf June 14.

“The American is pretty much a prep for the Shoemaker,” Cassidy said. “He worked good. All systems are go; I’m just not sure if I’ll run Saturday or wait for the Shoemaker.”

Rafael Bejarano, who had been scheduled to ride Silentio in the American, was injured in a spill yesterday and will be sidelined indefinitely. Thus, trainer Gary Mandella said Gary Stevens has obtained the mount. Bejarano had ridden Silentio in his last eight races.

Trainer Jeff Mullins said Chips All In is likely to start in the American, which would be his first start since last Dec. 28, when the 5-year-old North Light horse was fourth in the Grade III Daytona Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on the downhill turf course. Tyler Baze would ride.

Also expected for the American are Obviously, under the meet’s leading rider, Joe Talamo, and Winning Prize (Corey Nakatani), who captured the Grade I Kilroe Mile March 8 for his third win from five starts in the United States for Neil Drysdale.

Recent millionaire Clubhouse Ride, fourth in the Charles Town Classic April 19, is nominated to the American, but trainer Craig Lewis said the 6-year-old Candy Ride horse could surface in either The Californian Stakes on May 31 or the Mountainview Handicap at Penn National on May 31. Each race offers $200,000 in purse money at 1 1/8 miles.

Clubhouse Ride won The Californian at Hollywood Park on June 1 of last year, the date of his last victory.


Rafael Bejarano was at Huntington Memorial Hospital today after suffering multiple injuries when his mount, Gameboy Luke, went down entering the stretch in Saturday’s fourth race at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

Bejarano’s agent, Joe Ferrer, reported that the 32-year-old rider had no serious internal injuries, and no brain or spinal cord injuries. Santa Anita’s riding leader six times, Bejarano did sustain a broken collarbone, two broken scapulas and a broken rib. He is expected to remain at Huntington three to five days for observation according to Ferrer.

Through 10 days at Santa Anita’s Spring Meet, Bejarano was second to Joe Talamo in the standings with 11 victories. Bejarano was the runaway winner of the Winter Meet crown with 93 victories, 39 more than runner-up Talamo.

FINISH LINES: Trainer Richard Baltas says Potrero Grande Stakes winner Big Macher is doing well since being vanned off Saturday morning due to an issue with his right front foot. “He’s acting normal in the stall, we soaked his foot yesterday, poulticed it and walked him this morning,” Baltas said. “Nothing showed up. We’ll work on his foot the next couple days, maybe have a vet X-ray it, nuclear scan it, to see if we can find anything else.” . . . Elvis is in the building: Agent Tom Knust has taken the book of jockey Elvis Trujillo, who rides two horses at Santa Anita today for leading trainer Doug O’Neill. “He’ll return to Gulfstream tonight, then return here May 26 to ride at Santa Anita full time,” said Knust, also the agent for Mario Gutierrez, who took off today for personal reasons . . . Condolences to the family and friends of trainer Art Lerille, who died April 29 at Singing Oaks in Monrovia at the age of 78. A graveside service was held at Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia. Lerille trained from 1977 until 2009, winning 122 races from 1,454 starts.