Breeders' Cup 2014: Post No. 13 may be lucky for California Chrome


ARCADIA, Calif. – Art Sherman flashed a thumb’s-up sign. Victor Espinoza flashed a smile. The California Chrome camp, anxiously watching the post-position draw Monday for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita, was thrilled when California Chrome drew an outside post, No. 13, for a race that should decide Horse of the Year.

“For once, we’ve got a good post,” said Espinoza, California Chrome’s jockey, who holds the widely held belief that California Chrome does better outside horses. He was drawn on or near the inside in his last two starts, the Pennsylvania Derby and Belmont Stakes, both of which he lost.

“I love the post position,” said Sherman, the trainer of California Chrome. “I just want to see him in contention at the top of the stretch and see who has the best horse.”

Sherman’s son, Alan, who is California Chrome’s assistant trainer and daily caretaker, said, “We can dictate our race instead of others dictating it for us. They can’t box us in now.”

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A field of 15 was entered in the 1 1/4-mile Classic, but only 14 can run. Big Cazanova was placed on the also-eligible list. He has until Friday morning, scratch time for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races, to draw into the field. Otherwise, he’s out.

Big Cazanova worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on Monday at the San Luis Rey Downs training center, where he is based with trainer Peter Miller. His status definitely could impact the race, as he would add speed to the lineup. As it stands now, Bayern, who drew post 7, figures to go for the lead, with Moreno from post 4 and California Chrome his closest early pursuers.

The unbeaten Shared Belief, last year’s champion 2-year-old male, drew post 6 and was installed as the 9-5 favorite on the morning line of Santa Anita’s Jon White. Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, has Shared Belief favored at 2-1.

White has California Chrome, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the second choice at 4-1, followed by Tonalist, the Belmont Stakes winner, at 5-1, and the speedy Bayern at 6-1.

Watchmaker has Bayern, who defeated California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby, the second choice at 5-1, with both California Chrome and Tonalist next at 6-1.

The field, from the rail out, is Prayer for Relief, Cigar Street, Imperative, Moreno, V. E. Day, Shared Belief, Bayern, Zivo, Toast of New York, Footbridge, Tonalist, Candy Boy, California Chrome, and Majestic Harbor, with Big Cazanova on the also-eligible list.

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