We’ll head up the coast to the Bay Area for the California Derby at 3:55 p.m local time. At Golden Gate Fields, it’s a local prep for the El Camino Real Derby — their Kentucky Derby Prep race. Combined with the Spiral from Turfway, these two races create an artificial surface path to the Derby. Today, we’ll hopefully see if any of the horses show enough prowess routing over the fake dirt to earn the right to fight for consideration for the Kentucky Derby.
Let’s run down the field (after scratches):
- Kylemore: A really nice allowance try over the track, plus a nice win over the turf at Del Mar late last summer. 2nd try in his 3YO campaign.
- Mugaritz: Won the allowance mentioned above at high speed. Got here through the maiden claiming ranks — clearing by 6 at $20K Maidens. He’s improved to start the 3YO campaign — his lack of back class is his main knock.
- Intimidate: Left Northern California to win the King Glorious for Cal-breds on his first-time route on the dirt. Returns to the artificial surface, where he had some success this past fall. Seems a bit overmatched, despite the stakes win.
- Generally Lucky: He’s a 3-time winner, but all at lower levels, breaking his maiden at the $16K level. He ran 3rd in the allowance mentioned above, with Kylemore and Mugaritz. Would need to improve.
- Choo Choo: A Southern California shipper, he’s run well in two turf stakes, especially the Eddie Logan. Picks up Juan Hernandez for the local debut. He’s 2-1, but that seems ambitious for his first artificial try. He’s a serious contender, on class and with enough speed to be competitive for the top spot.
- East Rand: Starting in the Midwest, he made his way to SoCal for two turf stakes. His performances weren’t great, losing by 21 lengths in the final stakes try. He ran so-so over an artificial surface at Arlington last summer. He’ll need to improve, especially in regards to early speed now that he leaves the turf. Not today.
There’s a decent amount of early speed, which sets the race up for Kylemore, who brings a good resume. I expect him to win the rematch with Mugaritz, coming off the pace. Generally Lucky should find his way into the trifecta at 30-1.