California Chrome's connections were high on his form following his two-mile gallop on Tuesday at Belmont Park.
Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, said the colt expressed his eagerness long before setting foot on the track.
"He was feeling really good today," said Sherman. "He was dragging me around the barn before we went to the track. He's on it."
California Chrome noticeably tugged at exercise rider Willie Delgado during his gallop, which pleased Sherman.
"When I was watching through the binoculars I saw when he grabbed a hold of Willie," said Sherman. "You can always tell because he leans on him and you can see Willie start to lean back. He was galloping good and strong today. I was happy about it."
Delgado said it was difficult for him to resist the temptation to let California Chrome go faster.
"Today he was much more sharp," said Delgado. "I let him see how far he'll go pulling me like that, but then I have to slow him down. I'm like, 'No, son, you got to get back over here.'"
California Chrome has been in New York for a week now.
"I can tell you he loves this track, and I don't see him any problem getting a mile and a half," said Delgado. "This is the strongest I've felt about him winning a race. I said it before, if he wins the Derby, we'll probably go all the way. He's starting to show he can go over this track very easy."
Sherman said California Chrome remains on schedule to breeze on Saturday, likely at 8:45 a.m. following the renovation break.
Medal Count -- What They Say Now, What They Said Then
Dale Romans told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday that Medal Count, eighth in the Kentucky Derby, will contest the Belmont Stakes.
He later explained his reasoning to the Courier-Journal.
"He's training well. I think he had a terrible trip in the Derby. I think he was the third-best horse at worst. He's doing so well that we want to give him another chance with the big boys," Romans said. "So far (California Chrome) has been the best horse of the crop. I did underestimate him going into the Derby. But history says he's not going to win. You know you can't just duck that one horse. You have to be in there giving him a chance. And in fairness to past Triple Crown winners, he has to earn it. Somebody has to be in there to make him earn it."
Here's what Romans had to say right after the Kentucky Derby:
“I felt good about where we were the whole race, even up the backside. About the half-mile pole I thought we were ranging up exactly where we needed to be and he could quicken from there. I wish there had been a lot more pace in the race. It looked on paper like there would be a lot more. We got shut off pretty badly down the lane but, I don’t know, that’s the Derby. I think we could’ve moved up a couple positions but I don’t think it kept us from winning."
And Robby Albarado, who keeps the mount for the Belmont, had this to say:
“No trouble under the wire the first time. I was basically where I needed to be going to the backside. We made a little run turning for home but obviously not what I needed.”
By Dick Downey with NYRA contributing the first part of the story