El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate features Kentucky Derby Points

El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate features Kentucky Derby Points

February 16, 2018 2:30 AM


The $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, one of the most notable races every year at Golden Gate Fields, will be run this Saturday, February 17. The mile and an eighth contest is for three-year-olds traveling over the synthetic Tapeta surface. Along with a $60,000 check, the 2018 El Camino Real Derby champion will earn 10 points towards the 2018 Kentucky Derby, which will run Saturday, May 5. Recent El Camino Real Derby participants that have competed in the Run for the Roses include Chocolate Candy, Daddy Nose Best, and Dance With Fate.

A field of nine three-year-olds will go postward in the 2018 El Camino Real Derby. The expected morning line favorite is the 2018 California Derby winner Choo Choo, who also ran third in The Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita in December. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee is owned by Calumet Farm and has been training at Golden Gate Fields since the California Derby victory. He will be ridden, once again, by Juan Hernandez. Other local contenders include California Derby runner-up Mugaritz, multiple allowance winner Could Be the One, and recent starter allowance victor Unlawful Act.

Several Southern California invaders will try to add a stakes win to their resume. Paved, a filly facing boys in the El Camino Real, comes off a dominating five-and-a-half length score against maiden special weight company on turf. Paved was purchased for $320,000 as a 2-year-old and is trained by Michael McCarthy. Blending Citizen, conditioned by Doug O’Neill, ran fourth behind Choo Choo in the Eddie Logan and is scheduled to make his 2018 debut in the El Camino. Rounding out the Southern California entrants are the Vladimir Cerin trained Calexman, who broke his maiden on November 24 at Del Mar, and Epical, wheeling back quickly after winning his first career start for trainer James Cassidy three weeks ago.

City Plan, a three-year-old Godolphin homebred, is an interesting contender from the Eoin Harty barn. The son of Street Sense ships up to Golden Gate Fields after a poor showing in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes against Kentucky Derby hopeful McKinzie. City Plan won the Gold Rush Stakes over the Golden Gate Tapeta two starts ago and defeated Ayacara, a runner who came back to run second in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, February 3.

Interestingly, of the nine entrants, six will be ridden by Southern California jockeys. Making the trip to Golden Gate Fields from Santa Anita are jockeys Drayden Van Dyke (aboard Paved), Kyle Frey (Blended Citizen), Tyler Conner (City Plan), Alonso Quinonez (Calexman), Tiago Pereira (Epical), and Mario Gutierrez (Mugaritz).

The El Camino Real Derby goes as Race 7 on the nine race card, with a scheduled post time of 3:45 PM Pacific Standard Time. Here is the field, from the rail post position outward.

Horse (Trainer/Jockey)

 #1 Paved (Michael McCarthy/Drayden Van Dyke)

#2 Blended Citizen (Doug O’Neill/Kyle Frey)

#3 Could Be the One (Jack Steiner/William Antongeorgi III)

#4 Choo Choo (Jerry Hollendorfer/Juan Hernandez)

#5 City Plan (Eoin Harty/Tyler Conner)

#6 Calexman (Vladimir Cerin/Alonso Quinonez)

#7 Epical (James Cassidy/Tiago Pereira)

#8 Unlawful Act (Matthew Troy/Cristobal Herrera)

#9 Mugaritz (Jonathan Wong/Mario Gutierrez)