Saturday’s $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields is the first of two U.S. prep races in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series contested over a synthetic track (along with the March 25 Spiral [G2] at Turfway) and a field of seven will line up for the 1 1/8-mile test on Tapeta.
Sheer Flattery has been pegged as the 7-5 morning line favorite following a third-place effort in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) on February 4. Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, the Flatter colt broke his maiden two starts back at Santa Anita and will try a synthetic track with new jockey Frank Alvarado.
Ann Arbor Eddie is the main challenger. Listed at 2-1, the chestnut gelding has posted back-to-back wins over California-breds in the King Glorious and California Cup Derby for Doug O’Neill, and the son of Square Eddie finished third to the well-regarded Mastery in his lone previous foray against open company in the Bob Hope (G3) last November. Mario Gutierrez will accompany the colt from his Santa Anita base.
The home contingent includes the runner-up and third-placer from the January 21 California Derby at Golden Gate — More Power to Him and Colonel Samsen.
More Power to Him is a two-time winner locally and just missed when being caught late in the California Derby. Alejandro Gomez retains the mount for Faith Taylor. Colonel Samsen captured the Gold Rush on Tapeta three starts back for Eoin Harty and Ricardo Gonzalez has the call.
Rounding out the field are Tribal Storm, third in the California Cup Derby; Zakaroff, fifth in the California Dery; and Kona Dreams, who is winless from four attempts versus maiden special weight foes on the turf in Southern California.