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El Camino Real Derby: Odds, Analysis, Free PPs

2018 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Loosely translated by Google as “The Real Way,” or more properly as “The Royal Highway,” the El Camino Real Derby is the other race this weekend on the Derby Trail. It’s worth 10 points to the winner towards a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. But for all intents and purposes this is a waste of points assigned to a race that has never nor will ever produce a Kentucky Derby winner.

Billed as “The Bay Area’s Kentucky Derby Prep”, it’s hard to believe that a race run over the synthetic surface known as Tapeta, at a track that runs $3,200 claiming races for most of the season, and with fields that often times number as few as six, would ever be considered a prep race for true Kentucky Derby contenders each year. But it is.

So as hard as it is to get excited about a $100,000 G3 race at Golden Gate Fields on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, here’s a look at the field for the 1 1/8 miles El Camino Real Derby from the rail out.

El Camino Real Derby Odds, Analyis, Free PPs

1. Paved – 2 to 1. Three races all on turf for the second choice in the field who also happens to be a filly. Upside is she broke her maiden at this distance last time out. The downside is she broke her maiden last time out. Travels north from Santa Anita in search of a graded win and the Derby points for trainer/jockey combo that’s winning at 43% clip.

2. Blended Citizen – 4 to 1. From a two month layoff this Doug O’Neill trainee will be making his first start beyond 1 mile. Started career on dirt and was an also ran in first three lifetime starts before shifting to the turf to win his first race two back at Del Mar. Deep closer gets new rider who is 0 for 3 at GG where O’Neill has saddled 1 winner in three tries in the Bay area.

3. Could Be the One – 12 to 1. Nothing wrong with wishful thinking when naming a race horse but this guy has his work cut out for him as he’ll be asked to carry his sprinting style beyond 6 furlongs for the first time in ten career starts. To his credit he has the most wins (4) of any in the field. And has failed to hit the board in only 1 start — ironically, for a Kentucky Derby hopeful, a 5 1/2 furlong try on dirt.

4. Choo Choo – 9 to 5. Son of turf champ English Channel will be sent out by legendary Northern California trainer Hollendorfer who’s searching for his first ever Kentucky Derby winner (Aristides in 1875). And who incidentally will be sending out Instilled Regard in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds where he has a more reasonable chance of reaching the Derby with that runner than the one he’ll send out here. But let’s not digress too far from the reality that this guy broke his maiden on turf and won his last start here on Tapeta. He’ll have to go an extra 1/16th but all things considered it should be an easy win for high-percentage connections.

5. City Plan – 15 to 1. Son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense races in the colors of Godolphin under the care of Eoin Harty. He won a MSW at Los Alamitos last year and a 1 mile $75K overnight stakes race here two back on Tapeta. Beat one horse home last time out in the G3 Sham won by McKinzie. And if there’s a chance to beat the favorite it just might be this guy to close the gap late at a price to at least round out the exotics.

6. Calexman – 20 to 1. Another with high hopes who just broke his maiden on the turf at Del Mar. Set all the pace that day to win by a neck going 1 mile. Makes the trip North to San Francisco for Cerin and should be forwardly placed from the start before realizing how deep he’s in and throws in the towel.

7. Epical – 10 to 1. 1 for 1 so he’s batting a thousand. Son of Uncle Mo was 20 to 1 in his maiden score on turf last month at Santa Anita. Running line says he “re-bid” while three-wide in the stretch. But this will be his first vs. winners after maiden joy ride. With that in mind, he’s a modest price and will be sent from the start to prove he belongs.

8. Unlawful Act – 30 to 1. His name could be considered as to describe each event that Obama committed throughout his 8 year occupation of a place he had no business being in. And for actions which are quickly being overturned through executive order, leaving things as though the only house he would have been qualified for was the shit house, this guy has two victories which will stand as his defense for taking a whack at this spot. And this, despite the fact that his previous conditioning includes being the winner of a $20,000 maiden claiming race here two back, and his long odds.

9. Mugaritz – 10 to 1. Son of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In who went on to finish 8th in the Kentucky Derby won by Animal Kingdom. It was a year of unexpected events that gave John Velazquez his first and only Kentucky Derby victory aboard Animal Kingdom, a horse who theretofore had not competed in a single prep race ON DIRT. And having earned his way into the Derby by winning, ironically, the Vinery Racing Spiral at Turfway Park, which is run over the synthetic surface called Polytrack. The moral of this bit of information is that a prep race on a synthetic surface could lead to success in the Big Race on May 5th. This runner seems to have thrived since his maiden score here in November by six. That was for $20K claiming. But in his next start he hung on by a nose after leading all the way in a OC$40K, proving his affinity for Tapeta that was strengthened by a grinding bid while rating three-wide to finish second behind today’s favorite. Gets a new rider in Gutierrez who knows how to ride this track. Shot to upset.

El Camino Real PPs (See Doug O’Neill for Brisnet PPs)

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