February 9, 2023

Baker’s dozen will do battle in El Camino Real Derby

The track on the shore of San Francisco Bay will play host to the El Camino Real Derby (Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography)

Just over half of the 13 colts and geldings entered in Saturday’s $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields are currently nominated to the Triple Crown, perhaps a useful handicapping guideline in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep.

Contested at 1 1/8 miles and one of only two U.S. Derby preps run on a synthetic surface, the El Camino Real Derby also serves as a “Win & You’re In” prep for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico.

The Bob Baffert-trained Kingly, a veteran of only two starts, was expected to scratch from Saturday’s Risen Star (G2) to run in Northern California. A debut winner at Del Mar last summer, Kingly returned on January 31 and was a solid second in an entry-level allowance in the slop at Santa Anita.

Anothertwistafate has been untested in two starts over the Golden Gate surface, beating maiden and allowance foes by a combined margin of nine lengths. The Scat Daddy colt got away with slow paces in both and will attempt to stretch his speed a sixteenth of a mile farther than he’s ever run.

King of Speed and More Ice have so far proven best on turf, with the latter scoring back-to-back stakes wins in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf and $100,000 Zuma Beach last fall. More Ice, meanwhile, exits a third-place effort in the $75,000 Eddie Logan on the grass at Santa Anita.

Irish import Eagle Song could prove a wild card. Fourth and second in two turf allowances since arriving on these shores, he was a multiple winner over all-weather surfaces in his native land at two.

The Creep and Mayor Cobb, both of whom placed in a one-mile stakes over the strip in early December, are among the more accomplished of the remainder.

The El Camino Real Derby offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.