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El Camino Real Derby; Craftsman Looking For First North American Win

El Camino Real Derby 2014 (GIII); Craftsman Looking For First North American Win: The 2014 El Camino Real Derby is set to take place this Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California. The race is open to three year-olds going 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) on the Tapeta gunning for a purse of $200,000. Eight contenders are lined up to gain points on the Derby Trail including the Irish colt Craftsman. SEE UPDATED RESULTS

Tamarando Horse

Tamarando, with 3-1 odds, will break from post position #4 in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, February 15, 2014.

Known as Northern California’s premier Kentucky Derby prep, the El Camino Real Derby was first run in 1982 and was hosted by Bay Meadows racetrack until its closing in August 2008. It was raced at 1 1/16 until 2008 and then switched to 1 1/8. The most wins by a jockey are by Russell Baze with 8 and the most wins by a trainer are by Jerry Hollendorfer with 5. The record for 1 1/16 is held by Ruhlmann in 1988 in 1:39.40 and the record for 1 1/8 is by Silver Medalion in 1:50.45 for Steve Asmussen. Last year the race was won by Dice Flavor for Patrick Gallagher in 1:51.45. This year’s edition hands out points for 1st through 4th places with 10-4-2-1 on the road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Golden Gate Fields is throwing a pre-Derby party at the track for the 33rd running of this race with a Derby Hat Contest. There will be live TV coverage by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area from the track with cash prizes for the top three in the hats category. Fans attending the races Saturday will receive El Camino Real Derby baseball caps.

This year’s 2014 El Camino Real Derby is the 8th race of the day on a card of 9 set for a post-time of 4:15 pm, PST.

The highly regarded Irish-bred son of Mastercraftsman(IRE)/Weekend Fling/Forest Wildcat Craftsman is coming into this race with one run in the United States at Santa Anita going a mile on the turf in the Eddie Logan Stakes on December 28, 2013. He started out at the back running in 7th, angled in to save ground off the pole, came out leaving the 2nd turn and was 3 wide into the stretch to finish 5th. Trained by Aiden O’Brien in Ireland, he was a one-length winner of the (GIII) Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown on October 26, 2013. He is now trained by Simon Callaghan and gets blinkers to add to the fun. Craftsman has some killer works at Santa Anita on the dirt starting back in December with his most recent on February 9th, 2014 working 4f in 48.80, 36/87 and on February 2nd, 4f in 47.80, 6/74. He has a race record of 5:2:1:1 and exits post #1 with D. Carr up to ride.

Exiting from post # 5 with the famous Gary Stevens on board is the Florida bred Enterprising who enters this race off a second place finish in the California Derby going a 1 1/16 on this track on January 18th, 2014. In that race he stalked to the second turn, went wide into the stretch, came off the rail in the upper stretch to rally but couldn’t catch Exit Stage Left who is out of this race with an injury. Prior this son of Elusive Quality/Indy Blaze/A.P.Indy and trained by Tom Proctor, was a sharp winner on the turf of the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on December 28, 2013 going a mile with a three-quarter length victory. It was his second straight victory as he broke his maiden on November 16th, 2013 at Hollywood Park on the turf. His works at Santa Anita on the dirt include 5f on February 8th in 1:00.60, 35/86 and on February 1st, 4f in 49.00, 37/67.

I was a little surprised Hollendorfer put Tamarando in this spot. He wasn’t targeted for this race but when Exit Stage Left came up with an injury they signed him up. It looks like they are aimed at the Spiral next for him so this may be a workout? He is most definately the class of this race and may have nicer odds than Enterprising. I’m not sure I can back him in here to win but I would’nt leave him off a ticket. He’s primarily raced on dirt/sythnthetic and I like the turf to synthetic angle here for a few others. This son of Bertrando last out was 2nd to California Chrome in the California Cup Derby on the dirt at 1 1/16 on January 25th, 2014. He gets Russell Baze in the irons and exits post #4.

I’m going with Craftsman for the win in the 2014 El Camino Real Derby. I dig his connections and I think with blinkers shooting from the one hole he’ll be more forwardly placed. We’ll see if he stretches out and he should have decent odds. I also like Enterprising to hit the board with him as both came out of the Eddie Logan Stakes on the turf and he’s run on this track. The past two runnings of this race were won by Scat Daddy boys, Dice Flavor in 2013 and Daddy Nose Best in 2012, with both horses strictly racing on turf before their wins. Daddy Nose Best was 5th in the Eddie Reed prior to his win in the El Camino Real, so I like that angle for Craftsman.

It will be fun to see how Tamarando does in this race with Russell Baze up as he and Gary Stevens used to have family connections when Gary was married to Russell’s cousin. Could be an exacta here? With Russell the muscle picking up the mount it’s scary and he and Hollendorfer have a huge win percentage. If you play the jockey/trainer angle, there’s your boy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tamarando win this and he’ll be on my ticket Saturday if I play an exacta. I’m most definately putting win/place money on the #1 Craftsman. Best of luck to the boys and their connections Saturday.

Related Links:
What to Wear to Golden Gate Fields
Derby/Oaks Prep Schedule

El Camino Real Derby 2014 Post Positions & Odds
1. Craftsman* (IRE) 8/1 D.Carr/S.Callaghan
2. Puppy Manners 8/1 F.Alvarado/J.Hollendorfer
3. Infosec 10/1 I.Enriquez/F.Lucarelli
4. Tamarando 3/1 A.Baze/J.Hollendorfer
5. Enterprising 5/2 G.Stevens/T.Proctor
6. Icy Ride 10/1 J.Valdivia Jr./B.Baffert
7. I’ll Wrap It Up 10/1 J.Hernandez/D.O’Neill
8. Dance With Fate 7/2 A.Gryder/P.Eurton
*Craftsman – Blinkers On