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“First time against open company and he just broke in front and won so easy that day,” Sherman recalled. “I was pretty excited about that one.”

The Shermans’ enthusiasm was justified in the Kentucky Derby.

“Every year when you get the 2-year-olds in you’re saying, ‘Maybe this will be the one to get us to the Derby,’” Alan Sherman said. “But we’ve been saying that for a lot of years now, and we finally made it. It’s really special. My dad is deserving of it. He works hard.”

Ride On Curlin had an excellent practice run at Pimlico on Tuesday, much to the delight of trainer Billy Gowan. But Gowan concedes that California Chrome is the horse to beat on Saturday.

“I haven’t seen a flaw in him,” Gowan said.

Ride On Curlin finished seventh in the Derby after getting stuck in traffic from an outside post. Gowan hopes a new jockey, Joel Rosario, and smooth run Saturday will produce a different result.

“California Chrome is an awful nice horse,” Gowan said, “but I’d just like a clean trip so I can what our horse is really made of.”