Derby winner ready for Preakness

— -- California Chrome splashed his way around a sloppy main track at Pimlico Race Course on Friday morning and was proclaimed ready to go for Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Derby's connections said there is no issue with his throat after he was heard coughing upon returning from a gallop Thursday.

"California Chrome is fine," assistant trainer Alan Sherman said Friday, about an hour after the colt worked. "His throat is fine. He got a little tickle, but he's not going to be scratched. I don't know why it was blown out of proportion. The horse is in perfect shape."

Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome for Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, said the horse got over the sloppy surface with efficiency despite rain and 25 mph winds at Pimlico.

"I was impressed," the trainer said. "He was wearing four bandages, and he didn't have mud on any of them. He handled the track. He's a California-bred, so he doesn't see [those conditions]."

Sherman said the blister in the colt's throat isn't affecting him; it was treated with a glycerine wash. He said such developments can be caused by anything, even some feed that didn't properly digest.

"He ate up everything [this morning]," Sherman said. "His appetite has been good. My horse is in good shape; he's coming into the race strong."

Sherman again said he will leave it to jockey Victor Espinosa to decide what to do when the field breaks from the starting gate. California Chrome was on or just off the lead in the Santa Anita Derby and San Felipe Stakes but went along with a favorable pace in the Kentucky Derby.