California Chrome Flies to Baltimore — Really — for the Preakness
California Chrome has arrived in Baltimore for his date with the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes this Saturday. The Preakness website has details of the Kentucky Derby winner’s arrival earlier this afternoon from Louisville to Charm City:
California Chrome boarded a van at Churchill Downs at 10:17 a.m. Monday for the first leg of his journey to Pimlico Race Course to headline Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes.
Accompanied by Preakness candidates Ride On Curlin and General a Rod, California Chrome rode by van from Louisville to Lexington, Ky., where he boarded a flight bound for Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Scheduled to arrive at BWI at 1:45 p.m., the Derby winner and company are slated to receive a Baltimore City Police escort to Pimlico with an approximate arrival time of 3 p.m.
California Chrome completed the Churchill Downs portion of his training for the Preakness Stakes by galloping 1 ¼ miles with Willie Delgado aboard.
“Everything is perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father Art Sherman, of the colt’s stay in Louisville following his victory in the Run for the Roses. “He lost a little weight after the race but put it all back on quickly.”
Victor Espinoza, winner of the 2002 Preakness on War Emblem, has the return mount.
The Baltimore Sun reports that a packed house is expected for the race:
Ticket sales for the 139th Preakness Stakes on Saturday are running a couple percentage points ahead of last year, the fourth largest turnout in the history of the race, but the president of the Maryland Jockey Club sees the possibility of a record crowd.
Tom Chuckas said Monday that most seats outside of the infield at Pimlico Race Course are sold out, as they were last year at this time, and much will depend on weather. At worst, he figured the crowd would equal last year’s total of 117, 203, at best, it could top the 2012 all-time mark of 121,309.
The National Weather Service calls for rain on Friday for Black-Eyed Susan Day — featuring horse racing, music and speakers tailored to women and billed as the Ultimate Girls Day Out — but a sunny Saturday with the high near 70.