DEL MAR, Calif. -- Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome won the 1 1/8-mile Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Racetrack Saturday.
The race was the first on turf for California Chrome, who had not won since winning the Preakness Stakes on May 17.
“There's something about Del Mar, he's a different horse here,” Art Sherman, California Chrome's 77-year-old trainer said. “I've always thought he could be good on grass. He's so efficient. He doesn't have any wasted motion. So far, he floats over it.”
Sherman said he entered California Chrome in Hollywood Derby to help boost his chances for Horse of the Year and to "give me a lot of options'' for California Chrome's 4-year-old campaign in 2015.
California Chrome was the seventh Kentucky Derby champion to race at Del Mar after winning the nation's most famous race and first since Giacomo, the 2005 winner.
“You know, these fans have been following us and this horse from around the world, not just here in California. This is for the fans," said California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn.
California Chrome's bid for the Triple Crown ended with a dead heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 when he was stepped on by the horse next to him at the start, tearing some tissue in his right front heel.
California Chrome returned to racing Sept. 20, finishing sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby. He was third in the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 1.
“I wish I had gone into the Breeders' Cup like we're coming into this race,” Sherman said.
Coburn was asked if the Del Mar win should make California Chrome Horse of the Year.
“I don’t know. If it does, fine. If not, he’s still a champion – that’s all I got to say on that one," said Coburn.