Carl J. Odegaard's Hoovergetthekeys -- racing for the first time since winning the Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) by five lengths in January -- rallied to win Saturday's $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields. Despite blazing early fractions, 3-5 favorite Startac failed to reach contention, finishing seven lengths behind the winner. The Turf Paradise Derby winner closed from last and just managed to finish second, a head in front of Mo Mon, who raced two lengths off hot the early pace.
San Nicholas, part of a two-horse entry, set the early pace, running the opening quarter-mile in :22.52 and the half in :44.88 on a fast track, with Mo Mon two lengths back. San Nicholas continued on the lead, sprinting the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:08.88, as Mo Mon moved closer to the leader and Hoovergetthekeys raced in fifth. Mo Mon moved by the tiring leader and led into the stretch but had nothing left to repulse Hoovergetthekeys, who stopped the timer in a fast 1:40.85.
Finishing behind Mo Mon were Champagne Day, Lil' Country, San Nicholas, Unbridled Time, and Dusty Dixie Road.
Hoovergetthekeys (Mt. Livermore--Desert Orchid, by Saros) earned $110,000 for the win, his third in seven starts and first on a fast track. The Brian J. Koriner trainee was bred in California by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod and was ridden to victory by Ronald J. Warren Jr.
The winner paid $16.20, $4.20, and $2.10. Startac returned $2.40 and $2.10. Mo Mon was worth $2.10 to show. The $1 exacta returned $19.40. (Chart, Equibase