Report: California Chrome targets Pennsylvania Derby for return

California Chrome could return to the races on Labor Day.

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The plan has been for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome to make one start before the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

That strategy may be starting to take shape. Trainer Art Sherman told the Philadelphia Daily News he is considering using the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 20 as the prep.

"It kind of goes with my plan," Sherman told the paper. "It’s on the agenda. It’s not out of the question, let’s put it that way."

Chrome was on a well-deserved rest following the Triple Crown grind, which concluded with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont. The 3-year-old is back in training and pointed for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

There would be an added financial benefit to racing in the Pennslyvania Derby. Parx, the host track, offers a $50,000 bonus to the trainer and owner of a horse that has won a Triple Crown race or the Haskell or Travers. So, that would be an added $100,000 for Sherman. California Chrome’s owners would also be eligible for the bonus.

If it seems rare that a Kentucky Derby winner would race at Parx, it is. Smarty Jones won his first two races at the track in 2003 and Spectacular Bid won his final race as a 2-year-old in 1979 before going on to win the Run for the Roses. No Derby winner has raced at the track after capturing the first leg of the Triple Crown.

"As long as the horse is training good and doing good, I’m all pumped up to see what happens," Sherman told the paper. "It’s there and the timing is all right."

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