Berkeley, Calif. —A field of nine is entered to take flight in the feature race at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday afternoon, the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby for 3-year-olds. The El Camino Real Derby, run at the distance of one mile and an eighth on the “all-weather” Tapeta main track, offers ten Kentucky Derby points to the winner and an all-expenses paid, free berth into the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. In order for the winner to earn the latter incentive, he or she must be Triple Crown nominated.
This year’s El Camino Real Derby field is packed with Southern California shippers. The likely favorite, Rombauer, draws the outside post in the field of nine and is one of six entrants who make the trip north from their home base at Santa Anita Park. Rombauer makes his 3-year-old debut in the El Camino Real Derby, having most recently placed fifth in the Grade I Breeders Cup Juvenile in November. Earlier in the fall, Rombauer finished as the runner up in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita. The current leading rider at the Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet, Kyle Frey, picks up the mount for trainer Michael McCarthy. Frey won the 2017 El Camino Real Derby aboard longshot Zakaroff while McCarthy scored a victory one year later with the filly Paved.
Javanica seeks to become the second filly in the El Camino Real Derby’s 39-year history to take home the gold medal. Javanica, a royally bred gal by Medaglia D’Oro out of Grade 2 winning mare Shuruq, has finished second in her last three starts, all against stakes competition. Eoin Harty trains for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin LLC, with veteran rider Frank Alvarado slated to navigate. Javanica will be breaking from post position 7.
Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella saddles a 2021 El Camino Real Derby contender in Petruchio, by white-hot stallion Into Mischief. After breaking his maiden on turf two starts ago, Petruchio tried winners for the first time in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and completed the trifecta. Local jockey Irving Orozco rides for the first time.
Trainer John Shirreffs sends Waspirant to the Bay Area for another shot against stakes company. Most recently, Waspirant ran fourth in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes behind two of the top 3-year-olds in California, the Bob Baffert trained pair of Life Is Good and Medina Spirit. The son of Union Rags is out of the Storm Cat mare Life Is Sweet, who won the 2009 Grade I Breeders Cup Ladies Classic (now named the Breeders Cup Distaff). Jockey Assael Espinoza has the call for owners Pam and Marty Wygod.
Owner Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Doug O’Neill won the 2016 El Camino Real Derby with Frank Conversation and, five years later, campaign the California-bred Play Chicken. Winner of the King Glorious Stakes for state-breds at Los Alamitos last December, Play Chicken looks to rebound after an off-the-board finish in the California Derby on January 16 at Santa Anita. Evin Roman is named to ride; Roman guided Kingly to a second-place effort in the 2019 El Camino Real Derby.
Positivity rounds out the list of Southern California contenders. His best run to date came in the summertime as a 2-year-old, winning the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar while sprinting on dirt. He also ran second in his next start, the Golden State Juvenile. Both aforementioned races came against California-breds. Trainer Paddy Gallagher employs his go-to Northern California rider, Julien Couton, to ride.
Three local contenders look to play spoiler for the heavy hitters from Southern California. It’s My House, trained by Jamey Thomas, broke his maiden sprinting two weeks ago and stretches out in distance. Tesoro, who unofficially hit the wire first in his career debut, was disqualified for interference with another rival and enters the El Camino Real Derby still a maiden. Recent starter allowance winner Govenor’s Party completes the trio of local talent and is expected to go off at a big price for trainer Dan Franko. William Antongeorgi III rides It’s My House, Catalino Martinez hops aboard Tesoro and Cristobal Herrera retains the mount on Govenor’s Party.
The El Camino Real Derby goes as Race 8 on a 9-race program at Golden Gate Fields. First post on Saturday is 12:45 PM PT, with scheduled post time for the El Camino Real Derby stamped at 4:15 PM PT.
The $100,000 El Camino Real Derby (3-year-olds at one mile and an eighth)
1. Positivity (trainer Paddy Gallagher, jockey Julien Couton)
2. Waspirant (John Shirreffs, Assael Espinoza)
3. Tesoro (O.J. Jauregui, Catalino Martinez)
4. It’s My House (Jamey Thomas, William Antongeorgi III)
5. Petruchio (Richard Mandella, Irving Orozco)
6. Play Chicken (Doug O’Neill, Evin Roman)
7. Javanica (Eoin Harty, Frank Alvarado)
8. Govenor’s Party (Dan Franko, Cristobal Herrera)
9. Rombauer (Michael McCarthy, Kyle Frey)
For more information please visit www.goldengatefields.com or @GGFRacing.
Golden Gate Fields Press Release