2018 El Camino Real Derby Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, February 17, 2018

OffTrackBetting.com - The 2018 El Camino Real Derby is a race for 3-year-olds and serves as a prep race for the 2018 Kentucky Derby - the 144th renewal of "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports".

The El Camino Real Derby offers points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers as part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series.

The 1 1/8-mile race has been run at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco since 2009.

2018 El Camino Real Derby Odds & Entries

Race 7 on Golden Gate Fields's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:57 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Paved 2-1 Drayden Van Dyke Michael McCarthy
2 Blended Citizen 4-1 Kyle Frey Doug O'Neill
3 Could Be the One 12-1 William Antongeorgi III Jack Steiner
4 Choo Choo 9-5 Juan Hernandez Jerry Hollendorfer
5 City Plan 15-1 Tyler Conner Eoin Harty
6 Calexman 20-1 Alonso Quinonez Vladimir Cerin
7 Epical 10-1 Tiago Pereira James Cassidy
8 Unlawful Act 30-1 Cristobal Herrera Matthew Troy
9 Mugaritz 10-1 Mario Gutierrez Jonathan Wong

One of the most notable races every year at Golden Gate Fields, the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, 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. Over the years, El Camino Real Derby participants such as Chocolate Candy, Daddy Nose Best and Dance With Fate compete in The Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

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).

About the El Camino Real Derby

The El Camino Real Derby, which is held every February at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California, is is a race for 3-year-olds and an early prep race towards the Kentucky Derby. The race, in addition to Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000, offers the top four finishers coveted points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Derby. Run at a mile and an eighth, the race has been held on Golden Gate's Tapeta surface since the track switched to synthetics in 2009.

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The El Camino Real Derby was originally run at Bay Meadows and called the El Camino Real Stakes when it was inaugurated in 1976. It became known as the El Camino Real Derby in 1982 and gained graded stakes status in 1986. After switching locations to Golden Gate Fields from 2001 through 2004, the race was permanently relocated to Golden Gate in 2009 after Bay Meadows closed permanently. It remains one of the few Kentucky Derby prep races held on a synthetic surface.

Notable horses that have tallied a victory in the El Camino Real Derby include Snow Chief, Casual Lies, Tabasco Cat and Cavonnier. Jockey Russell Baze has a record nine victories in the race, including seven of the last 10 runnings. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has won the race six times.

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