Four of the nine entrants in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000
El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields have been nominated to the Triple
Crown series, and thus are hoping to add the 10 points the race provides to the
winner toward their Kentucky Derby account under the new eligibility system of
the Run for the Roses. The 1 1/8-mile race also features a rematch between the
top-two finishers from the January 12 California Derby.
Zeewat got the best of his rivals in that 1 1/16-mile contest and brings a
2-0-1 mark from three starts on Golden Gates’ synthetic Tapeta into the El
Camino Real Derby. The Harlan’s Holiday three-year-old, who also captured the
Gold Rush on the all-weather surface, has some dirt experience under his girth
The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil debuted on Santa Rosa’s main track, breaking his
maiden by seven lengths while going 5 1/2 furlongs prior to a 2 1/2-length score
in the six-furlong Cavonnier Juvenile.
Zeewat will be trying nine furlongs for the first time in the El Camino Real
Derby, but gets the services of Hall of Famer Russell Baze in the saddle to
further his chances.
Wildcat Moon tried to steal the California Derby on the front end, but
couldn’t hold off Zeewat’s run in the stretch. The Jeff Bonde trainee just broke
his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs two prior and next out scored an optional
claiming win over the synthetic. The chestnut son of D’wildcat got a jockey
switch to Kyle Frey for his California Derby effort, and retains that rider in
his graded debut.
Manando and Carving will likely vie for favoritism with Zeewat on Saturday.
The former was a 5 1/4-length, gate-to-wire winner of his maiden on Hollywood
Park’s synthetic Cushion Track December 13, and attempted those same tactics in
the Grade 3 Sham next out in early January. The Bluegrass Cat colt was caught in
the stretch, winding up third for trainer Bob Baffert, and will be tough in this
spot under Aaron Gryder if he takes to the Tapeta.
Carving, a dark bay son of Any Given Saturday, won the Real Quiet on
Hollywood’s Cushion Track in early November, and will be making his
three-year-old bow here off a subpar sixth-placing in the Grade 1 CashCall
Futurity in mid-December. The Baffert charge had jockey Martin Garcia aboard for
those races, but will get Victor Espinoza in the irons this time around.
Rush In and Nina’s Dragon could also offer up a challenge in the El Camino
Real Derby, while Counting Days, North Pacific and Dice Flavor complete the