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El Camino Real Derby Preview: Rombauer’s Big Return
Rombauer (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

El Camino Real Derby Preview: Rombauer’s Big Return

BERKELEY, CA – John and Diane Fradkin homebred Rombauer makes his big return to the races on unfamiliar ground in Saturday’s $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

The El Camino Real Derby is a 1 1/8-mile route on the synthetic main track restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 4:15 PM.

The El Camino Real Derby is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. The winner will receive 10 points, second 4, third 2, and fourth 1.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the El Camino Real Derby:

1. Positivity 12/1 – He won 2 straight against California-breds to start his career including the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation Stakes, but he struggled routing in both the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and the California Cup Derby. Despite those poor efforts going 1 1/16 miles, his pedigree (by 2012 Belmont [G1] runner-up Paynter) suggests that he should handle two turns.

2. Waspirant 8/1 – He broke his maiden at second asking in a two-turn Del Mar dirt mile event but didn’t finish on the board or within 9 lengths of the winner in his other 3 starts. Trainer John Shirreffs sends him north after scratching him out of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park; his stablemate/workout partner Parnelli finished fifth by almost 20 lengths.

3. Tesoro 20/1 – He enters his second career start still a maiden; he crossed a 1/2-length in front while going a mile over this course on January 24 against maiden special weight company, but he was disqualified and placed last after drifting in the stretch and interfering with a rival. His 5-furlong bullet best-of-30 work in 1 minute flat here on February 5 makes him a factor.

4. It’s My House 20/1 – He broke his maiden at second asking over this course in a 6-furlong maiden special weight on January 31 after finishing second on debut under similar circumstances last November. Trainer Jamey Thomas connects at 23% with a $2.30 ROI on synthetic but hasn’t won with a stretching-out sprinter since November 2018, an 0-for-25 skid.

5. Petruchio 3/1 – Proven on turf (2-1-1-0 mark), graded stakes-placed on dirt (third in the Los Al Futurity), and about as consistent as they come (5-1-1-3 overall record), he gives synthetic a try for the first time here. The distance and class should be of little concern, and trainer Richard Mandella has won 16 of his past 44 starts here while finishing in the money 33 times.

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6. Play Chicken 12/1 – He broke his maiden on debut and won start #3 (the King Glorious Stakes), but he was well behind the winner in both the Golden State Juvenile Stakes and the Cal Cup Derby. Both victories came routing over different surfaces (turf and dirt), but his inconsistency between starts doesn’t instill much confidence. This is his first try against open company.

7. Javanica 5/2 – The lone filly takes on males for the second time after finishing fourth on debut in a 5-furlong Arlington Park turf sprint, then made the exacta in 4 subsequent starts. She broke her maiden going a two-turn mile, then finished second in the Glorious Song Stakes (on Woodbine’s synthetic), the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3), and the Blue Norther Stakes.

8. Govenor’s Party 50/1 – He broke his maiden at fourth asking in a 1-mile Del Mar dirt route while risked for a $40k tag after the winner interfered with him in the stretch and was disqualified. After running last of 10 in the King Glorious, he defeated starter allowance rivals going 1 mile over this course on January 29, but his speed figures still need major improvement.

9. Rombauer 8/5 – The classiest entry broke his maiden on debut in a 1-mile Del Mar turf route, then finished sixth by just 2 lengths in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes. He switched to dirt and finished second in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1), then fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last time out. He fired a 5-furlong bullet best-of-38 work in :59.40 last week.

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