The El Camino Real was a race with good history dating back to its days at Bay Meadows, but to be honest, it has lost some of its luster since moving to Golden Gate Fields.
But thanks to some wheeling and dealing from The Stronach Group (TSG) – the owners of Golden Gate Fields – there is national interest in the race this year thanks to the winner getting a free berth in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
How did that happen? Well, I am not sure, but consider that Pimlico is owned by TSG and you can connect the dots.
The 7th race on the Golden Gate card – a 3:54 p.m. post – the race has drawn a field of 13 runners and is arguably better than the last few years.
Following is a look at the key runners:
Kingly (2-1): One look at Bob Baffert as the trainer and this horse has instant credibility. Evin Roman makes the trip north for the ride, his first time on the horse in a race. The main question is that this would have to be no better than Baffert’s third choice as the where to run one of his 3-year-olds, behind Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park. My thoughts about the horse that was also entered in the Risen Star and has win in a maiden and a second in an optional claimer to his credit – Baffert is shooting for the automatic Preakness berth. Can he win? Sure, but I think the resume is a little lite to get overly excited for 2-1.
Anothertwistafate (5-2): The Blaine Wright trained runner was ninth in his debut at Santa Anita before shipping north. The horse has taken to the artificial surface like a champ for Juan Hernandez, winning two straight, first by four lengths, then five lengths. Once again, a little lite on quality wins, but never underestimate a horse that likes the Tapeta and this is a runner that has certainly shown that.
Eagle Song (5-1): This will be his third start in the United States after going to the post 10 times in Ireland last year. Trainer Mark Glatt’s horse is a bit of an unknown as his only two stateside starts have been over the turf. He was successful on artificial surfaces in Ireland, winning two of three. History has shown kindness to horses going from the turf in Southern California to the Tapeta. Julien Couton has the mount.
More Ice (8-1): Jerry Hollendorfer trains and Abel Cedillo rides the Southern California shipper. The horse has no starts over the Tapeta, but with his last five starts coming over the turf, it makes it a little easier to take.
King of Speed (10-1): Pleasanton’s Jeff Bonde, who has since relocated to Southern California, returns to Northern California with an intriguing runner. Heriberto Figuero rides the horse that had a promising first six starts before laying an egg in his last two starts, both Grade I events. Not sure what to think, but this certainly is an easier place than his last two starts Might be a good value play.
If I was going to take a flyer in this spot, it would be Mayor Cobb (20-1). Jonathon Wong has been winning races in bunches at Golden Gate Fields and always puts his horses in good places. He gets one of the best in Northern California in William Antongeorgi III for the ride. He has hit the board in all six starts and why this is a decent step up, this could be a tasty payoff with the win and nice add to any exotic tickets.