Del Mar, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – When nominations closed Thursday night for
Del Mar’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby, 22 3-year-olds were named led by Kentucky
Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome and Queen’s Plate champ Lexie
The trainers for both California Chrome and Lexie Lou gave strong indications
that the two will meet in the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes on Saturday, Nov. 29.
“(California Chrome) came out of the race (Breeders’ Cup Classic) great. I was
up there (Los Alamitos) on Monday and trained him and he looks super,” trainer
Art Sherman said Wednesday morning. “I’ve wanted to try him on turf, this is
an opportune time. And Horse of the Year is on the line. If he wins it, maybe
he could be Horse of the Year. It could help. I don’t know.”
While Sherman also nominated his chestnut colt to the Native Diver, same day
as the Derby, he clearly is looking at the Derby for ‘Chrome’s next start.
“Just the way he moves (running motion) makes me think he could be a good
grass horse,” Sherman said Thursday morning. “I’ve wanted to try him on turf,
this is an opportune time. If he can run on grass it will give me a lot of
options with him next year as a 4-year-old.”
Lexie Lou, trained by Mark Casse, is no stranger to turf or taking on male
3-year-olds. The filly defeated colts and geldings in the Queen’s Plate and
knows her way around a grass course.
“I got to tell you I think our filly is pretty tough. She hasn’t beaten
California Chrome, but she has beaten the boys before. Actually, I think it’s
kind of intriguing,” Casse remarked.
“One thing we know is, our horse will run on the grass. This is my 34th year
(training). I’ve breezed a lot of horses over the grass and I’ve done a lot of
things. I’ve had horses that worked good on the grass that I thought would run
lights out and they didn’t run a lick. I’ve had ones that didn’t look very
good in works that ran great in the race.
“You never know until you try.”
As a backup, Casse also nominated Lexie Lou to the $300,000 Matriarch, one
mile on turf for older fillies and mares on Sunday, Nov. 30,
Turf winners also nominated for the Hollywood Derby include Long On Value and
Tourist, both trained by Bill Mott. Long On Value won Santa Anita’s Twilight
Derby going 1 1/8 miles on turf with Rosie Napravnik riding on the Breeders’
Cup opening day card. Tourist, ridden by Joel Rosario, was runner-up to
Adelaide in the 1 1/4-mile Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day, Aug.
16 at Arlington Park.