A final decision to run wasn't made until California Chrome got in a workout on the turf Sunday morning.
“First time in this horse’s life he had been out on the turf, on the grass. He seemed to take to it quite nicely. He was more curious than anything else," said Joe Harper, president of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
"Nothing bothers him. He knows he's a star," said trainer Art Sherman.
California Chrome's turf test comes after track officials made changes to the surface following the summer season when several horses were injured and had to be put down.
“Fortunately so far, this meet has been very safe. The turf course has grown a lot since this summer. Safety of the course is not an issue at this time," said Harper.
California Chrome has earned nearly $4 million this year. An appearance at Del Mar would be the highlight of the fall season.
“I think capping it with this kind of race really puts us on the November map that we haven’t been on for forever, really," said Harper.
“It’s getting close to Horse of the Year. If he can win a race like this – it would sure help him, I think," Sherman said.