Golden Gate Fields: The $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/8 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points 10-4-2-1)
by Brian Nadeau
With the locals looking like a bit of a mixed bag, it’s no surprise to see #1 PAVED as the favorite, and judging by that romp at today’s distance on the turf at Santa Anita in fast time, this daughter of Quality Road looks poised to toss her name into the ring as a fringe Derby contender for McCarthy. There’s little doubt #4 CHOO CHOO is the best of the locals, as he was a comfortable winner of the local prep, the California Derby, and this English Channel colt will take plenty of support for Hollendorfer, who has owned these parts for many a year. The wide draw could hurt #9 MUGARITZ, but he wasn’t far behind ‘Choo last time, and if he can work out a trip, the son of Dialed In could surprise for local ace Wong. The wildcard appears to be #7 EPICAL, who impressed dueling and holding on going a two-turn mile on the turf in his debut for a patient Cassidy barn at SA, which isn’t an easy thing to do, and, as a son of Uncle Mo, is bred to be a nice one.