Del Mar, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Wednesday morning at Del Mar trainer Art
Sherman nominated Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome for
the track’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby to be run on the turf the Saturday after
Thursday, trainer Mark Casse let it be known that his Queen’s Plate champion
Lexie Lou has been nominated for the 1 1/8-mile Derby with a good chance of
the filly facing California Chrome.
“I don’t think it will stop me, it won’t change my mind,” said Casse about
having Lexie Lou run against the winner of the first two legs of this year’s
Triple Crown. “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 (Queen’s Plate).
Actually, I think it’s kind of intriguing.”
Casse earlier indicated that Lexie Lou, winner of the Woodbine Oaks, was going
to get a start in either the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes at a mile on grass for
older fillies and mares on November 30 or the Hollywood Derby.
“One thing we know is, our horse will run on the grass,” Casse said. “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.”
Lexie Lou, owned by Gary Barber, won the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate by 1 1/2
lengths as the 3-1 second pick. The filly followed by winning the Wonder Where
Stakes at Woodbine five weeks later on Aug. 10. After finishing 10th in the
Canadian Stakes on grass, Lexie Lou won the Autumn Miss Stakes on Oct. 25.
The 3-year-old has banked $1,059,470 this year with four wins from seven
Meanwhile, California Chrome will make his first career turf start in the Nov.
29 race. The colt, owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, is also nominated
to the $200,000 Native Diver at 1 1/8 miles on the synthetic main course, the
same day as the Derby.
“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.
“If he wins it, maybe he could be Horse of the Year. It could help. I don’t
California Chrome will be shipped down from Los Alamitos for a workout on the
Del Mar turf course on Sunday, Nov. 23 to determine which race he will start,
with the Derby as the primary option.
With more than $4 million in earnings, “Chrome” is to prep at Santa Anita next
year for a start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday, March 28.