Touted as “the best ever”, the Pacific Classic didn’t turn into the thrilling three-way-battle everyone was hoping for. A let-down?
Nope. Certainly not! Well, at least not if you love to see great horses doing great things!
It wasn’t the supposed thriller because California Chrome demolished his classy rivals – brilliant mare Beholder and gutsy Dortmund – in quite sensational style. In fact Chrome fans were able to count their chickens early – the race was basically done and dusted already after the first couple of furlongs.
Why? Because the one big thing that could spell trouble for the reigning Dubai World Cup champion was pushed out of the way with ease. Drawn in barrier one can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be.
From the inside gate, jockey Espinoza pressed on right from the moment the gates crashed open. Without much hassle he manoeuvred Chrome into the lead and let thimp settle into a nice rhythm.
And that was that. Case closed. No rival wanted to take him on for the lead; Chrome was allowed to dawdle along in front to set fractions that would suit him perfectly. Then from four furlongs out Espinoza started to go through the gears.
He was winding it up without any signs of trouble whatsoever. After an easy lead for the entire race, Chrome had still plenty in the tank and finished strongly despite being hand held, whereas his main rivals faded away.
What was thought to be a highly competitive race turned into a procession by a tactically smart rider and a classy equine superstar – which California Chrome undoubtedly is.
I’m not surprised and speculated beforehand that the draw would not be as big a deal as some made out of it. I also said California Chrome should be considered an odds-on chance in this field, despite all the hype around the depth of the field in “best ever Pacific Classic”.
Yes, it would have been interesting to see if either Dortmund or Beholder would have at least tried to make a race of it, if one would have pressed Chrome for the lead or would have made at least a big move at some point to apply some heat.
But then the five year old is simply in a different league to Beholder and Dortmund. He’s a battle hardened horse but more importantly a multiple Grade 1 winner on different surfaces at different continents. Breeders Cup Classic next?
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