California Chrome wins showdown against Dortmund at Del Mar

There was a crowd of 21,336 at Del Mar on Saturday to watch two of the past three winners of the Santa Anita Derby, California Chrome and Dortmund, duke it out in the $200,000 Grade II San Diego Handicap.

If it had been a prize fight, the decision would have been decided by the judges, as California Chrome had to work the length of the stretch to outlast Dortmund by a half-length in the excellent time of 1:40.84 for the 1 1/16 miles — the fastest in the race since Mazel Trick went 1:40.60 in 1999.

“I’ll tell you one thing, Dortmund made him work for it,” winning trainer Art Sherman said. “It’s going to be an interesting few races coming up ... it just happens that we were best today.”