Blackladder made his stakes debut a winning one in Saturday’s $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, defeating odds-on favorite Mackinnon by a neck. Edwin Maldonado was up for Bob Baffert in the 1 1/8-mile race on Tapeta.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier was worth 17 points (10-4-2-1 scale), but Baffert’s runners are ineligible to earn points. Blackladder did pick up an automatic berth to the middle leg of the Triple Crown, the May 21 Preakness (G1) at Pimlico.
By Quality Road, Blackladder was exiting a late-running victory in an off-the-turf maiden special weight at Santa Anita, and his career line now reads 4-2-0-1. The dark bay colt is campaigned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, and Donovan.
Nuestro Engreido, a 178-1 longshot, sprinted to a clear lead and established splits in :23.46, :47.77, and 1:12.58 before giving way in the stretch. Blackladder, who was off as the 7-2 second choice, rated in midpack before launching his bid on the far turn, advancing into contention as he straightened for home.
Multiple stakes winner Mackinnon got first run, rallying from just off the pace to strike the front, but Blackladder was gaining fast. Mackinnon kept on fighting, but Blackladder determinedly prevailed late, stopping the teletimer in 1:50.34.
It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to Del Mo in third. Il Bellator, C’Mon Man, Boise, Nuestro Engreido, Unraptured, Stormy Samurai, Meetmeattheclub, and Dr Pescado competed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm, Blackladder is out of the Pulpit mare Chapel, making him a full brother to stakes-winning Gingham, and he was purchased for $620,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale.