Last seen finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Rombauer opened his three-year-old campaign with a victory in Saturday’s $100,000 El Camino Real Derby S. at Golden Gate Fields. Kyle Frey was up for trainer Michael McCarthy.
The 1 1/8-mile race on Tapeta awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 scale as a Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier. Rombauer had already picked up 4 points for a runner-up finish in the American Pharoah S. (G1) last fall.
By Twirling Candy, the John and Diane Fradkin homebred left the El Camino Real Derby starting gate as the 6-5 favorite among eight runners. The bay colt trailed until the far turn, launching a sweeping move into contention, and Rombauer appeared to have the leaders measured after straightening for home.
Javanica turned in a gutsy performance on the front end, but Rombauer proved too much in deep stretch, edging past to score by a neck.
The winner stopped the teletimer in 1:51.64, and Rombauer improved his overall record to 5-2-1-1 with his first stakes victory.
Javanica, who took on male rivals following a pair of runner-up turf stakes efforts, easily saved the place as the 2-1 second choice, four lengths better than 119-1 outside Governor’s Party in third. It’s My House came next in fourth, and Waspirant, Petruchio, Tesoro, and Play Chicken completed the order.
Bred in Kentucky, Rombauer is out of the unraced Cowboy Cal mare Cashmere, a half-sister to 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag and multiple Grade 3 scorer Cambiocorsa.