A win on the grass may or may not help his championship hopes much, but it would certainly open up a lot of options for next year. It would also make it easier for the handsome chestnut to stay home in California, where he remains overwhelmingly popular and where his connections feel most comfortable. It would also move him a step closer to emulating another California hero, Lava Man, still the only horse to win Grade 1 races on dirt, turf and synthetic track surfaces. California Chrome has already won over Del Mar's Polytrack, so a crack at next year's Pacific Classic (USA-G1) might well be in the cards.
The big question now is, will Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou -- a proven commodity on grass -- tackle Chrome, or will her connections opt to send her against older females in the Matriarch Stakes (USA-G1) the following day? Given that only six have passed the entry box for the Hollywood Derby, the filly's defection would weaken the field substantially as well as removing the intriguing angle of a showdown between the winners of the United States' and Canada's top Classic races. Her presence or absence may make the difference as to whether a Hollywood Derby victory would give Chrome a championship or just another nice entry on his resume.