El Camino Real Derby

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El Camino Real Derby

El Camino Real Derby Race Facts

  • Location: Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley, CA
  • Inaugural Race: 1982
  • Current Distance: 1 1/8 miles
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt (Synthetic)
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • 2021 Purse: $100,000
  • 2022 Race Date: Saturday, February 19th

The El Camino Real Derby is the only Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points race at Golden Gate Fields in California. The race offers a chance for synthetic all-weather-surface runners a chance to obtain points from the spread of 10-4-2-1.

2021 El Camino Real Derby Race Results

POSTHORSEJOCKEY /TRAINERWIN / PLACE / SHOW
9RombauerKyle Frey / Michael W. McCarthy$4.40 / $2.40 / $2.20
7JavanicaFrank T. Alvarado / Eoin G. Harty$3.00 / $2.80
8Govenor's PartyCristobal Herrera / Daniel Franko$15.40
4It's My HouseWilliam Antongeorgi III / Jamey R. Thomas
2WaspirantAssael Espinoza / John A. Shirreffs
5PetruchioIrving Orozco / Richard E. Mandella
3TesoroCatalino Martinez / O. J. Jauregui
6Play ChickenEvin A. Roman / Doug F. O'Neill

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $2 Exacta (9-7) Paid: $4.90
  • $0.50 Trifecta (9-7-8) Paid: $90.70
  • $0.10 Superfecta (9-7-8-4) Paid: $135.51

Watch the 2021 El Camino Real Derby

The History of the El Camino Real Derby

The El Camino Real Derby (G2) is a 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds held at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California. The $100,000 race in mid-February has been held at Golden Gate since 2009, and is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a 10-4-2-1 points system awarded to the top-4 finishers. The El Camino Real Derby is one of the marquee staples of the Golden Gate Fields winter meet.

The El Camino Derby has been dominated by late runners that rally from off the pace. In fact, since 2009, not a single front-runner or speed horse has won the race. In addition, the race has not been kind to horses with good form on dirt racetracks. Previous success on turf, particularly at Santa Anita and/or Del Mar, has been a much better indicator of horses with a chance to thrive at Golden Gate Fields.

In the 2017 edition, Zakaroff scored the second biggest upset in the 36-year history of the El Camino Real Derby, coming from off the pace to score a one-half-length victory as a 48-1 long shot.

The jockey with the most wins is Russell Blaze, who scored victories in 1984, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014. Six of his wins were under the guidance of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Ruhlmann was clocked with the fastest time in 1988, running 1:39.40 over a distance of 1 1/8th miles. No other horse to date has been able to break the 1:40.00 ceiling.

Tank’s Prospect would win the El Camino Real Derby, and then go on to score in the Arkansas Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1985. Incidentally, Snow Chief would do the same the following year but instead won the El Camino Real Derby on route to scoring in the Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness Stakes in the 1986 campaign.

Tabasco Cat is considered the most successful winner to come out of the El Camino Real Derby, having won the 1994 renewal prior to winning the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes that same season. He may have also won the Kentucky Derby if not for a bad bump during the race.

These pathways are notable because there is a special $5,500,000 bonus awarded to those that win the El Camino Real Derby, Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness Stakes. An alternate $550,000 bonus is available for those that compete in the El Camino Derby, finish top-three in the Florida Derby or Santa Anita Derby and win the Preakness Stakes.

El Camino Real Derby Past Winners

YearWinnerJockey / TrainerDistance
(Miles) / Time
2021RombauerKyle Frey / Michael W. McCarthy1-1/8 / 1:51.64
2020Azul CoastRafael Bejarano / Bob Baffert1-1/8 / 1:51.58
2019AnothertwistafateJuan J. Hernandez / Blaine Wright1-1/8 / 1:50.38
2018Paved†Drayden Van Dyke / Michael McCarthy1-1/8 / 1:50.04
2017ZakaroffKyle Frey / Stephen Specht1-1/8 / 1:51.34
2016Frank ConversationMario Gutierrez / Doug F. O'Neill1-1/8 / 1:50.64
2015MetabossAlex O. Solis / Jeff Bonde1-1/8 / 1:49.92
2014TamarandoRussell Baze / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/8 / 1:51.23
2013Dice FlavorJose Valdivia Jr. / Patrick Gallagher1-1/8 / 1:51.45
2012Daddy Nose BestJulien Leparoux / Steve Asmussen1-1/8 / 1:50.46
2011Silver MedallionRussell Baze / Steve Asmussen1-1/8 / 1:50.45
2010ConnemaraRussell Baze / Todd A. Pletcher1-1/8 / 1:51.26
2009Chocolate CandyRussell Baze / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/8 / 1:50.54
2008Autism AwarenessLuis Contreras / Genaro Vallejo1-1/16 / 1:43.17
2007Bwana BullRussell Baze / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/16 / 1:43.22
2006Cause to BelieveRussell Baze / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/16 / 1:41.81
2005Uncle DennyRussell Baze / Rafael Becerra1-1/16 / 1:42.22
2004KilgowanChance Rollins / Lonnie Arterburn1-1/16 / 1:43.87
2003Ocean TerraceMike E. Smith / Robert Hess Jr.1-1/16 / 1:42.26
2002YougottawannaJason Lumpkins / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/16 / 1:43.48
2001HoovergetthekeysRon Warren / Brian Koriner1-1/16 / 1:40.85
2000Remember SheikhFrank Alvarado / Lonnie Arterburn1-1/16 / 1:43.47
1999CliquotDavid R. Flores / John Shirreffs1-1/16 / 1:43.29
1998Event of the YearRussell Baze / Jerry Hollendorfer1-1/16 / 1:40.27
1997PacificbountyKent Desormeaux / Walter Greenman1-1/16 / 1:41.85
1996CavonnierMartin Pedroza / Bob Baffert1-1/16 / 1:43.40
1995JumronGoncalino Almeida / Gary Lewis1-1/16 / 1:43.73
1994Tabasco CatPat Day / D. Wayne Lukas1-1/16 / 1:42.78
1993El AtrozRafael Meza / Jose Silva1-1/16 / 1:43.77
1992Casual LiesAlan Patterson / Shelley L. Riley1-1/16 / 1:42.00
1991Sea CadetTom Chapman / Ron McAnally1-1/16 / 1:40.60
1990Silver EndingGary Stevens / Ron McAnally1-1/16 / 1:43.00
1989Double QuickAlex Solis / Melvin F. Stute1-1/16 / 1:43.60
1988RuhlmannPat Day / Robert J. Frankel1-1/16 / 1:39.40
1987Masterful AdvocateLaffit Pincay Jr. / Joseph Manzi1-1/16 / 1:42.40
1986Snow ChiefAlex Solis / Melvin F. Stute1-1/16 / 1:42.60
1985Tank's ProspectJorge Velásquez / D. Wayne Lukas1-1/16 / 1:41.00
1984French LegionaireRussell Baze / David Hofmans1-1/16 / 1:42.40
1983Knightly RapportFernando Toro / Joseph Manzi1-1/16 / 1:44.80
1982CassaleriaDarrel McHargue / Ron McAnally1-1/16 / 1:42.80