Pharoah Colt MacKinnon Tops 11-Strong Field For El Camino Real Derby

Eleven 3-year-old colts and geldings are slated for a chance to earn 10 Kentucky Derby points and a free Preakness berth in the feature race at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday afternoon, the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Tapeta. The El Camino Real Derby goes as Race 8 on a nine-race program.

Last year, 2021 winner Rombauer took advantage of his free Preakness berth, which has been offered to the winner of the El Camino Real Derby the last four years, and went on to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

A pair of Southern California shippers make the trip north. The headliner in the field is Doug O’Neill trainee MacKinnon, who won a pair of stakes on turf as a 2-year-old-the Juvenile Turf at Del Mar and the Zuma Beach at Santa Anita-before finishing third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf last November. Most recently, the son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah finished fourth behind next-out Southwest Stakes victor Newgrange in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on dirt at Santa Anita. Southern California-based jockey Abel Cedillo, who has a total of four mounts on the day, is named to ride McKinnon.

O’Neill saddles a second entrant in Del Mo, who won a maiden special weight at Golden Gate on Jan. 9 and has trained in the Bay Area leading up to the El Camino Real Derby.

Trainer Bob Baffert won the El Camino Real Derby in 2019 with Azul Coast and sends out $620,000 yearling purchase Blackadder in the 2022 edition. In his most recent afternoon appearance, the son of Quality Road broke his maiden in a two-turn race at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. He faces winners for the first time and will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado for the first time. Blackadder is owned by the large partnership of SF Racing LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm LLC.

Local contenders run deep in the El Camino Real Derby. Temple City colt Boise attempts to rebound after a poor performance in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on turf. Trained by leading Northern California conditioner Jonathan Wong, Boise broke his maiden at Golden Gate and won the Gold Rush Stakes in December over the Tapeta main track.

Dr. Pescado picked up a stakes victory in the Golden Nugget Stakes sprinting on Tapeta last fall and freshens up two months after finishing third behind Boise in the Gold Rush.

C’Mon Man, who rounded out the superfecta in the Gold Rush and was a non-factor in the Eddie Logan, is another 3-year-old from the local contingent entered.

Unraptured, who has always been well regarded by his connections and the Bay Area racing community, is a perfect two-for-two on the Golden Gate Tapeta. He enters fresh off a dominant allowance win. The Tim McCanna trainee possesses the pedigree to be a decent racehorse: he is a half sibling to Grade 3 winner and $500,000 earner Jalen Journey. Another sibling, Derek Adrian, was a Group 1 winner in South America and won 12 races from 16 lifetime starts.

Allowance winner Stormy Samurai stretches out in distance after beating a salty bunch of sprinters, two-turn maiden special weight victor Il Bellator sports an improving pattern leading up to this stakes debut, and maiden Meetmeattheclub is entered ambitiously in search of a massive upset. Nuestro Engriedo, who finished third behind Stormy Samurai in an allowance race two weeks ago, rounds out the field.

First post on Saturday afternoon is 12:45 PM PT. Fans who wish to attend the race card, or any future race programs, can purchase tickets online at Goldengatefields.com.

The El Camino Real Derby (Race 8 of 9. Approximate post time: 4:15 PM PT)

#1 Stormy Samurai (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…trainer Jack Steiner)

#2 McKinnon (Abel Cedillo…Doug O’Neill)

#3 Unraptured (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna)

#4 Blackadder (Edwin Maldonado…Bob Baffert)

#5 Nuestro Engriedo (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan)

#6 Boise (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong)

#7 Dr Pescado (Pedro Terrero…Felix Rondan)

#8 Meetmeattheclub (Silvio Amador…Dan Franko)

#9 C’Mon Man (Irving Orozco…Bill McLean)

#10 Il Bellator (Alejandro Gomez…Jose Bautista)

#11 Del Mo (Ruben Fuentes…Doug O’Neill)

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