One of this weekend’s 2012 Kentucky Derby preps is the El Camino Real Derby. The race has an eclectic field of ten horses hoping to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 5. Their breeding and racing surface choices are so different. The entries are bred in four states or countries and have starts on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces. They will all compete on Saturday, February 18 in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
The 1 1/8 mile 2012 El Camino Real Derby will be run on the track’s synthetic Tapeta footings surface and is Golden Gate’s major prep race for the Kentucky Derby. The race is often used as a stepping stone for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 7 at Santa Anita Park.
Lucky Chappy (Ire) will make his first main track start in the El Camino Real Derby, after starting all six of his career starts on turf. The High Chaparral (Ire) colt was a stakes winner in Italy, and then shipped to the U.S. for an autumn campaign, including a fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. Lucky Chappy finished second to Howe Great in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his 2012 debut.
Alan Garcia will travel west to pick up the mount aboard Lucky Chappy for trainer Graham Motion and owner Team Valor International.
California Derby winner Russian Greek leads the local contingent into the El Camino Real Derby. A son of Giant’s Causeway, Russian Greek has won three of four starts, including a last second win by a neck in the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. Jerry Hollendorfer trains Russian Greek for owner Olympia Star Inc. Aaron Gryder will have the riding assignment for Saturday’s race.
Lady of Fifty will attempt to become the first filly to win the El Camino Real Derby, and will start from the outside post. The After Market filly has performed admirably against the filly population at Golden Gate, with wins in the Golden Gate Debutante Stakes, Corte Madera Stakes, and California Oaks.
Lady of Fifty also comes from the barn of Hollendorfer, who co-owns the filly with George Todaro. She will be ridden by Russell Baze. Kentucky Derby Tours alumni, Naomi Hansen successfully owned many horses with Jerry Hollendorfer and George Todaro.
Other entries are Daddy Nose Best, Senor Rain, Cahill Chrome, Unveiled Heat, Handsome Mike, Rockinarz Recruit, and All Squared Away. Come Monday, who will be looking for Kentucky Derby tickets?