Alan Sherman's friend Jordan Olsen, who sells wine in Northern California for Ridge Vineyards, is taking a break from work to follow California Chrome.
"Just cleared it with my bosses over there,'' Olsen said. "They knew about the up-and-coming Triple Crown run, hopefully. They were fine with it.''
Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman, asked Olsen to ride with California Chrome, groom Raul Rodriguez and exercise rider William Delgado on the flight Tuesday from Louisville, Ky., to Baltimore.
"Basically, when Willie and Raul came out here, Alan put me on there to make sure that the horse was safe,'' Olsen said.
"I've been with him the whole journey out here and in Kentucky. Just going along for the ride with him.''
The flight was non-eventful, Olsen said. California Chrome didn't watch a movie or read a book.
"He was in the very first stall, right in the front of the plane,'' Olsen said. "They had to back him on there. And, it was smooth flight, an hour and 10 minutes. No problems.
"We were all in the back. Everyone sits in the back of the plane.''
The van ride from the airport to the track went smoothly, too, Olsen said. "He was the only horse in the back of the trailer,'' he said. "Me, Willie and Raul, we were in there.''
After California Chrome trained Tuesday, Olsen was with onlookers watching as the colt was given abath.
"He looks really good,'' Olsen said. "It looked like he took to the track good. It seems like he wants to go back out for a gallop. They put him away after a little short jog.
"He kept his weight out there in Kentucky after the race. We're keeping our fingers crossed for some racing luck. We'll see what happens.''
Olsen said he didn't bring wine on his travels with California Chrome. "It's too hard to travel with that stuff,'' Olsen said. "I could have sent some out.''
After the Derby, the drink for the victory celebration was the bourbon Maker's 46, Olsen said. "That was the new one that we found out about out there,'' he said. "It's pretty good.''
Will they be toasting California Chrome again Saturday?