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California Chrome’s Next Race May Be At Del Mar

Evening Edition

Aired 6/9/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Joe Harper, President and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Transcript

Although California Chrome's Triple Crown hopes were dashed this weekend when the horse tied for fourth place in the Belmont Stakes, the 3-year-old's career is far from over. California Chrome is expected to be in Del Mar in August for his next race.

Joe Harper, president and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said, nothing’s firm in horse racing, but there’s a good chance that Del Mar's $1 million race in August would be a good steppingstone on the way to the Breeder's Cup.

"California Chrome's injury has to heal, but hopefully that will all come together to get him to come to Del Mar," Harper said. "And it would give him a break because he’d be running against older horses."

Besides, Harper said, California Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman lives right up the road in Rancho Bernardo.

The injury, which happened Saturday when another horse stepped on California Chrome’s front foot coming out of the gate, is expected to take a few weeks to heal.

One controversy after the Belmont Stakes stemmed from remarks made by California Chrome’s owner Steve Coburn. Coburn said it was not fair for his horse to compete against horses that had not run in the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby — that the Triple Crown should be all or nothing. He’s since apologized, but some would argue that there was some merit to the points he raised.

In 2013, the Belmont Stakes winner, Palace Malice, skipped the Preakness Stakes as did the 2012 winner Union Rags. In 2011, Ruler On Ice won the Belmont without running the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes.

Harper said it’s something that this industry has talked about for quite some time.

"A Triple Crown winner would be great for the sport," Harper said. "Look at the history and that so few horses have done it, it tells you that they are a heck of a horse: Secretariat, Seattle Slew — how can you change it, without changing the whole system?"

Harper said he's against changing the rules. But he said, the one thing that could be looked at is the number of horses allowed to compete in the Kentucky Derby. Now, 20 horses are allowed to race, while for most races it's 14.

"Most people will tell you that’s too many horses," he said.

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