California Chrome Edges Determined Dortmund in Del Mar Thriller

The Del Mar crowd roared as California Chrome put a head in front of Dortmund in the final turn of the $200,000 San Diego Handicap on Saturday, but little did they know the battle they were in store for in the stretch.

With Dortmund close to a half-length behind the 2014 Horse of the Year late on the turn, the hulking son of Big Brown somehow found more on the inside and the pair dueled to the finish line. Battling head-to-head late, California Chrome eventually outlasted his fellow chestnut to win by a half-length.

“I tell you, Dortmund made him work for it,” winning trainer Art Sherman said.

Dortmund broke poorly under jockey Gary Stevens but rushed up on the inside to set quarter-mile fractions of :23.47, :47.02, and 1:10.51 through three-quarters of a mile, while California Chrome under Victor Espinoza stalked from second.