"Because sometimes I swear he has part human brains, and sometimes I wish he could talk," Delgado explains with a laugh. "Like the other day, we were coming off the track here and he was walking pretty fast back to the barn until he heard click-click-click-click of all the cameras. I noticed he started to slow down. His ears pricked up. Then, he actually just stopped. He turned his head slightly toward all the cameras. Then, he stood there for a few seconds before moving on. And I was like, 'Did you really just do what I thought you did?' He actually struck a pose! I told him, 'I can't believe you just did that.'"
It's good that Chrome likes the attention, because it's not going away. A crowd of 100,000-plus might show up Saturday.
It's also good that physically -- not just mentally -- Chrome so far seems up to the rigors of the Triple Crown chase.
Chrome's trainers were thrilled over the weekend to find he actually gained an inch of girth since the Preakness despite the grind of facing his third major race in five weeks. "Is that right? An inch?" Cordero says.
Any worries about how Chrome will take to his first 1½-mile race or the layout of the track? Delgado says, "I've never been around a horse this smart. By the second day we were out galloping, he figured out where we were. By the third day he was already back to his normal routine of where to turn on his [finishing] speed and ran the whole last half-mile to the wire."
Nobody is discounting the chance of a fresher horse taking Chrome down in the Belmont, but Chrome's last serious workout Saturday was so electrifying it was the talk of the track.
The praise was so effusive that Cordero says he went online to check out the video.
Co-trainer Art Sherman, Allan's dad, abandoned his usual caution and flatly predicted Chrome is going to win Saturday's race.
Even Pletcher concedes that whomever aspires to upset Chrome is going to have to hope their horse runs the race of his life and that Chrome has a little bit of an off day. It'll have to be both.
"A lot of Belmonts are lost because of mistakes," Cordero says. "But they've done a beautiful job with him. They really have."
California Chrome, who is just one race and a mile and a half from immortality, shows no signs of breaking yet.
It's not just how he runs. It's who he is.