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Blog - RACING

Enterprising is Ellis Star's top pick for this Saturday's El Camino Real Derby (Photos by Benoit & Associates).

The Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby is the second to last race in the "Prep Season" portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby point system which awards 10 points to the winner and 17 points total between the top four finishers. Starting with the Fountain of Youth Stakes next Saturday, winners will earn 50 points which will likely mean an automatic starting spot among the 20 that will start in the gate on the first Saturday in May. However, that doesn't mean the points awarded here are any less important, because the smallest margin in points may make the difference between getting one of the final spots in the Derby starting gate and being on the outside looking in.

The El Camino Real Derby field is led by Enterprising, who got valuable experience over the track four weeks ago when finishing second in the California Derby following a win in the Eddie Logan Stakes. Tamarando won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last summer and the Real Quiet Stakes last fall, both on a similar all-weather surface, so he certainly appears to be a contender. Likewise, Dance With Fate finished second in the Del Mar Futurity as well as the Grade 1 Frontrunner Stakes in the fall, entering the El Camino Real Derby off a strong win three weeks ago at Santa Anita. Craftsman won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes in Ireland last fall and although fifth in his North American debut behind Enterprising in the Eddie Logan has room to improve, as does California Derby fourth place finisher Puppy Manners. Infosec finished third in the California Derby and can improve. I'll Wrap It Up has won just once in seven tries but had a significantly troubled trip last month in the race won by Dance With Fate and may be able to run better if he can avoid traffic. Maiden (non-winner) Icy Ride rounds out the field.

Enterprising appears to be the one to beat in this year's El Camino Real Derby. He has improved his effort in each and every start since his debut and brings a career best and field high 104 Equibase Speed Figure into the race from his runner-up effort last month in the California Derby. Prior to that, Enterprising won the Eddie Logan Stakes, making him one of just three horses in the field to have won a stakes race. Gary Stevens rode Enterprising to victory in the Eddie Logan and comes to Golden Gate to ride him while taking off the entire day at Santa Anita, which is another strong sign the colt will improve once again while earning some points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and stamp himself a contender in the final Derby preps to come.

I'll Wrap It Up may be one-for-seven in his career, with no better than a single fourth place effort in stakes competition but has a chance to post the upset if Enterprising isn't up to the task. Showing a lot of promise when winning by nearly four lengths (91 Figure) over a similar all-weather surface in December, I'll Wrap It Up was well beaten following that in the Sham Stakes. In his next start 13 days later, I'll Wrap It Up was rallying in the stretch when he was blocked with no path to run, costing him any chance at victory. The winner of that race, Dance With Fate, was in the clear on the outside of horses and had no such issues, so if I'll Wrap It Up can avoid getting trapped this time he could rally and be in the thick of the action on the wire.

DANCE WITH FATE IS STILL LOOKING FOR A GRADED STAKES WIN

Dance With Fate

Dance With Fate improved to a career best 91 Figure when winning last month. That was his first start following nearly three months off so he has a good amount of improvement to show us. Having proven himself at the stakes level previously with runner-up efforts in the Del Mar Futurity and Frontrunner Stakes, Dance With Fate has every right to run big in the El Camino Real Derby and move on to bigger things on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Craftsman (92), Icy Ride (89), Infosec (102), Puppy Manners (101) and Tamarando (91).

My Selections:

Enterprising

I'll Wrap It up

Dance With Fate

$200,000 El Camino Real Derby

Saturday, Race 8, Golden Gate Fields, 7:15 PM E.T.

One and One Eighth Miles, for 3-Year-Olds

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1

Craftsman (IRE)

D Carr

S Callaghan

2

Puppy Manners (KY)

F T Alvarado

J Hollendorfer

3

Infosec (CA)

I D Enriquez

F Lucarelli

4

Tamarando (CA)

R A Baze

J Hollendorfer

5

Enterprising (FL)

G L Stevens

T F Proctor

6

Icy Ride (KY)

J Valdivia Jr.

B Baffert

7

I'll Wrap It Up (KY)

J J Hernandez

D F O'Neill

8

Dance With Fate (FL)

A T Gryder

P Eurton

All carry 121 pounds

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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