Golden Gate Fields: The GIII, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/8 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points 10-4-2-1)
While synthetic racing has gone out of favor in recent years, Golden Gate’s featured event has lured a pair of legitimate dirt horses looking to get some ever-important Kentucky Derby qualifying points, in #3 ANN ARBOR EDDIE and #5 SHEER FLATTERY, and both seem imposing, even though neither has tried the fake stuff. The nod goes to the latter, who wheels right back on two weeks’ rest after a solid 3rd in Santa Anita’s GIII Robert Lewis to the up-and-coming Royal Mo, starts for local legend Hollendorfer and, being by Flatter out of a Grand Slam mare, has a bit more breeding for the local strip. Ann Arbor Eddie looms the obvious main danger for O’Neill, but this son of Square Eddie has been beating up on Cal breds in his home state and was 3rd in his only foray outside those ranks, albeit it was to hotshot Mastery in the GIII Bob Hope at Del Mar in November. The best of the locals are #2 MORE POWER TO HIM and #6 COLONEL SAMSON, the 2-3 finishers of last month’s local prep, the California Derby. The former, a son of Slew’s Tiznow, drew better and may appreciate the expected quick pace for an underrated Taylor barn, while the latter, a son of Colonel John, runs the risk of being hung wide for much of the way for Harty.