By Mark Lamport-Stokes
(Reuters) - California Chrome, North America's all-time leading money earner, is scheduled to run in next month's Awesome Again Stakes in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic in November, the horse's trainer said on Wednesday.
The chestnut-colored five-year-old, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014, is in line for a $1 million bonus if he wins the Awesome Again on Oct. 1 and the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 5.
Both races will be staged at the iconic Santa Anita Park in Arcadia where California Chrome has won four out of seven starts -- all of them stakes.
Santa Anita Derby champion in 2014, 'Chrome' is riding a five-race winning streak which began with victory in Santa Anita's Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 9 and extends to the Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 20.
"He's come out of the Pacific Classic in great shape," the horse's trainer, Art Sherman, said from his Los Alamitos base on Wednesday. "We'll bring him up to Santa Anita about a week before the race and let him get re-acclimated there.
"We did that earlier this year and it worked out real well. The million dollar bonus is very nice, but if he wasn't ready, we wouldn't be running.
"The Breeders' Cup Classic is our major objective, no question, but he's doing great and we expect him to run big in the Awesome Again."
Ridden in his last 17 starts by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome won two stakes in Dubai earlier this year, including the Dubai World Cup on March 26.
The California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit, who has accumulated career earnings of $13.25 million, was then freshened at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky prior to winning the Grade II San Diego Handicap on July 23.
The Awesome Again is one of five Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifying preparation stakes. Santa Anita will host the two-day Breeders' Cup for a record ninth time from Nov. 4-5.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)