Golden Gate Fields: El Camino Real Offers Derby Points on Saturday

Rombauer won the 2021 El Camino Real at Golden Gate Fields en route to a Preakness victory.

This Saturday will be the last of the 10 point Kentucky Derby races. The El Camino Real will be run at Golden Gate Fields and offer points to the top 4 finishers.

Synthetic Main Track

If you’ve never tuned into the races at Golden Gate Fields, you may be surprised by the rich black color of the ground. Unlike many of the familiar tracks like Saratoga, Churchill Downs, or Santa Anita, Golden Gate’s main track is a synthetic surface.

The surface is known as tapeta and is the same type of material as the newest surface at Gulfstream Park.

Why Tapeta?

While most tracks opt for traditional dirt, a handful have the synthetic surface often referred to as “all-weather”. This is often the major appeal of the surface as it drains better than traditional dirt. This means that races can remain on a fast surface in any weather.

This surface does tend to play more fair than traditional dirt and tends to be less slanted toward early speed. Some proponents of the surface also claim the synthetic mixture provides a safer running surface for the horses as well. The Tapeta Footings website tracks statistics regarding equine injury and the impact of the synthetic surface.

Saturday Stakes Analysis

Golden Gate Fields Race 8

Post: 4:30 PM PT; Purse: $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, 1 1/8 Miles on All Weather Track; Entries: 11

Mackinnon points toward a derby prep at Golden Gate Fields.
Mackinnon is favored in the El Camino Real from Golden Gate Fields
  • #2 MACKINNON (8-5) is the rightful favorite in this spot. He has speed figures and class figures that make him the horse to beat. However, this is the point in the Derby season where late bloomers start to make huge strides. When that happens past form isn’t always the key to victory.
  • #1 STORMY SAMURAI (8-1) is one of three horses in the field to have hit the board in all of their starts at today’s conditions
  • #4 BLACKADDER (7-2) goes out for top connections and has to be respected as a horse that can keep improving.
  • #3 UNRAPTURED (10-1) is another who has never failed to hit the board at this distance and could be a really sneaky player in this spot.

Selections: 2-1-4-3

Saturday Undercard Analysis

Golden Gate Fields Race 1

Post: 12:45 PM PT; Purse: $16,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 Mile on All Weather Track; Entries: 7

  • #2 WOLF MOON WILSON (10-1) has posted the top speed figures of anyone in the race. The price is right where I like it for upset winners in these types of races.
  • #4 THECHIEFHASTRICKS (12-1) has been running solid races up this point and has speed numbers equal to the favorite at much better value.
  • #5 L L L COOL (7-2) is the runner from the top of the odds board I like the most. This one appears to distribute energy evenly throughout the race which can be a huge asset on the tapeta.
  • #6 EGOMANIA (6-5) has run against the toughest group, but is still a maiden. I prefer not to go with favorites in these races unless they look unbeatable and if that were the case, they wouldn’t still be a maiden.

Selections: 2-4-5-6

Golden Gate Fields Race 2

Post: 1:19 PM PT; Purse: $14,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 1/2 Furlongs on All Weather Track; Entries: 8

  • #5 DANNY MICHAEL (10-1) is another upset play based on pedigree alone.
  • #4 THE CALABRESE KID (9-5) goes out for a good barn and gets an easier spot here. Additionally this one has been knocking at the door at this level in the previous races.
  • #1 TRIBUTE TO ART (15-1) is another bomb that should be bred to do well here.
  • #2 INTO BOURBON (2-1) has solid enough numbers to be a player. Maybe this one can jump up and take down an otherwise pretty average group.

Selections: 5-4-1-2

Golden Gate Fields Race 3

Post: 1:50 PM PT; Purse: $27,000 Claiming, 1 Mile on All Weather Track; Entries: 7

  • #3 BACK RING LUCK (2-1) is in great form right now and really seems to relish the one mile distance.
  • #7 SACRED RIDER (6-1) has the best speed figure in the group and could figure to get a dream trip in this spot.
  • #2 FUENTE (6-1) is almost indistinguishable from the top two in a lot of metrics and is in with a big shot at a solid price.
  • #6 OF GOOD REPORT (8-1) should be part of the early pace. Maybe this one can steal it on the front end.

Selections: 3-7-2-6

Golden Gate Fields Race 4

Post: 2:22 PM PT; Purse: $17,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 1/2 Furlongs on All Weather Track; Entries: 8

  • #1 COCORITA (6-1) is bred to be a threat here. I like the upset in this spot.
  • #8 LONELY ON TOP (2-1) is also fairly well bred and has a little experience under the belt which is always helpful.
  • #6 BONITA LEONA (5-2) may get the best pace setup of the faster horses in the race.
  • #7 TAM TRICKY (7-2) projects to be on the lead which is never a bad place to be in maiden claiming races no matter how fair the track may be. These horses just don’t like to pass so sometimes being the first to the front means you win by default.

Selections: 1-8-6-7

Golden Gate Fields Race 5

Post: 2:52 PM PT; Purse: $31,000 Allowance, 1 1/8 Miles on All Weather Track; Entries: 7

  • #6 TABLE FOR TEN (3-1) is my best bet coming in with the top speed figures and class. The barn doesn’t hurt either.
  • #4 GALLANT WARREN (5-2) should be able to control the pace of the race up front.
  • #5 ROCKS AND SALT (9-2) should have the stamina to get the 9 furlong distance which may be a question mark for some of these.
  • #3 GOVENOR'S PARTY (2-1) will look to get the best of the race flow in this contest.

Selections: 6-4-5-3 (Best Bet: #6 TABLE FOR TEN)

Golden Gate Fields Race 6

Post: 3:23 PM PT; Purse: $39,000 Maiden Special Weight, 5 1/2 Furlongs on All Weather Track; Entries: 11

  • #5 FIRE ME UP (7-2) is a top pick solely because I trust the connections.
  • #9 MIX AND MATCH (8-1) has run against some solid runners and should find many of these a bit softer.
  • #8 VIVA LA FIESTA (9-2) has been in the money at this distance before.
  • #2 ICONIC SKY (5-1) is a first time starter with solid breeding. If this one is taking money on the board move him up in the picks.

Selections: 5-9-8-2

Golden Gate Fields Race 7

Post: 3:55 PM PT; Purse: $32,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 Mile on All Weather Track; Entries: 7

  • #7 TOM'S SURPRISE (3-1) is a solid play at 3-1 with good early pace and plenty of class to run to.
  • #5 WINE AND WHISKY (4-1) loves this mile distance and has to be considered a top player to hit the trifecta.
  • #4 DULAS (7-2) will look to get a dream trip in this spot.
  • #2 TESORO (5-2) has the top speed figures in the group and is definitely worthy of consideration.

Selections: 7-5-4-2

Golden Gate Fields Race 8

Post: 4:30 PM PT; Purse: $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, 1 1/8 Miles on All Weather Track; Entries: 11

  • El Camino Real Stakes analysis provided above.

Selections: 2-1-4-3

Golden Gate Fields Race 9

Post: 5:00 PM PT; Purse: $22,000 Starter Allowance, 1 Mile on All Weather Track; Entries: 9

  • #6 VANTAGE POINT (3-1) has kept the best company in the group and is dangerous in this spot as the favorite.
  • #3 TRASH TALKIN CAT (7-2) has the top speed figures in the group.
  • #1 CHAMPAGNE PEGASUS (9-2) looks good from a pace perspective in this one and although I’m not one for hunch plays, there’s just something about this name that speaks to me.
  • #7 SUGAR BEETS (6-1) has proven to be a competitor at the mile distance.

Selections: 6-3-1-7

By Chris Adams

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.