The Bob Baffert-trained Azul Coast boasted his superiority in the Feb. 15, $101,800 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, stalking the pace before turning away a pair of Northern California entrants to win the 39th running of one of Northern California’s most prestigious horse races.
Sent off at favored odds of 13-10, Azul Coast raced in fourth in the early stages. Under the guidance of jockey Rafael Bejarano, the Super Saver colt peeled three-wide for the stretch, turned away eventual third-place finisher Indian Peak, and disposed of another rival, second-place finisher American Farmer, in a driving finish. He completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.58 on a fast track and won by 1 1/4 lengths.
“I figured he would get a good trip,” said Bejarano, who is based in Southern California year-round. “He was going well the entire time under me and he showed me a real nice kick when [American Farmer] tried to come get us at the sixteenth pole.”
Wine and Whisky completed the top four placings while The Stiff finished fifth. They were followed by Sacred Rider, Ajourneytofreedom, Czechmight, Final Final, Mysterious Stones, and Praise Loudly.
Azul Coast is owned by Karl Watson, Paul Weitman, and Michael Pegram. With the 2020 El Camino Real Derby in the books, he improved his career record to two wins and one second from three lifetime starts, with $104,000 in earnings. He became the 25th black-type winner for his sire, Super Saver.
Azul Coast earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a free Preakness Stakes berth with his victory Saturday. Rafael Bejarano picked up his first El Camino Real Derby victory while Bob Baffert won the Bay Area race for the second time in his career, having won the 1996 edition with Cavonnier.