BALTIMORE (AP) – A driving rainstorm couldn’t deter California Chrome from an easy gallop in the slop on the day before the Preakness.

Despite the miserable weather, trainer Art Sherman stuck to the schedule he had mapped for the Kentucky Derby winner. California Chrome went out early for a jog on a gloomy Friday morning for a routine tour of the Pimlico strip.

Like the other Preakness contenders, California Chrome was sent to the center of the track, avoiding the deep and muddy rail.

“I was impressed. He seemed to handle the track perfect,” Sherman said. “He’s a California-bred, so he doesn’t often see those conditions.”

Sherman would love to bottle some of the Baltimore rain and take it home to Southern California where wildfires are raging.

“Where I live is about 25 miles from where the big fires are right now,” he said.

The storm cleared the Baltimore area Friday afternoon. With luck, and good drying conditions, there could be a fast track by Preakness post time at 6:18 p.m. EDT on Saturday.

Back at the barn, California Chrome showed no signs of the previous day’s cough, the result of a small blister in his throat.

No one knows the cause of the irritation but Sherman suspects it might be something the horse ate.

“Sometimes they get a little scratchy with a throat blister and it’s not a big deal,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the feed. They don’t digest it really well. I’ll tell you, he ate up everything. His appetite has been good. Maybe he likes those crab cakes.”


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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