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California Chrome to face full field in Winter Challenge—the Champion's final race in California—on Saturday afternoon

December 17, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

California Chrome, who has been based at Los Alamitos since January, 2014, races on the Los Alamitos Race Course surface for the first time—and races for the last time in California—in the $180,000 Winter Challenge on Saturday, December 17.

Scheduled for 1-1/16 miles, the Challenge—designed as a prep for California Chrome’s career finale in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup on January 28 at Gulfstream Park—attracted 11 others, but only 10 fit in the gate. The purse for the Challenge is structured so that any horse who finishes is guaranteed $10,000.

The Challenge is the last of nine races. Post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (PT). Scheduled post time for the main event is 4:28 p.m. PT. The next-to-last program of the Winter Thoroughbred meet also includes the $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem Stakes.

Restricted to 2-year-old fillies bred or sired in California, the one-mile Soviet Problem is the second race and has a scheduled post time of 12:58 p.m. PT.

There is also a Los Alamitos beanie hat giveaway—one per paid admission while supplies last.

Owned by Taylor Made Farms and co-breeder Perry Martin and trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome prohibitive 1-to-5 morning-line favorite to win over the surface where he has been stabled for nearly three years.

The world’s richest active Thoroughbred with earnings of $14,452,650, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit and the Not For Love mare Love The Chase is scheduled to begin his stud career at Taylor Made after the Pegasus World Cup.

“This is going to be our big tuneup for the Pegasus,’’ said Sherman. “I just hope we have a safe trip and everyone has an enjoyable time.

“I’m looking forward to running him here in Orange County. I know he has a lot of fans. I think it will be a great day.’’

Point Piper, who won the Grade III Longacres Mile on August 14 at Emerald Downs, makes his Los Alamitos debut for a partnership that includes Gatto Racing and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

A 6-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway and the Sadler’s Wells mare Imagine, Point Piper has won five of 27 and banked $436,635. Point Piper is the morning-line second-favorite at 6-to-1. “Super Mario” Guiterrez has the mount.

Big Pick-6 carryover awaits bettors

A Pick-6 carryover of $308,191 awaits players on Winter Challenge day, Saturday, December 17. The carryover is the largest since daytime Thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in July, 2014.

There were no winning favorites in the sequence on Friday, December 16, with the biggest upset provided by Midnight Toast, who paid $39.80 in winning the third race.

Post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. PT. The Pick-6 begins in the third race, which has a scheduled post time of 1:28 p.m. PT. The sequence includes races #3 through #8,and does not include the $180,000 Winter Challenge, which features the last start in California of California Chrome.