The top three finishers in the Jan. 16 California Derby – Ranger Heartley, Connemara, and Thomas Baines – top the 10-horse field entered for the Feb. 20 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields.
The $150,000 race, Northern California’s major prep for the Triple Crown series, will be contested at 1 1/8 miles over the Tapeta Footings all weather surface at the Berkeley, Calif., oval.
Ranger Heartley, who led from start to finish to win the Cal Derby by three-quarters of a length, is trained by John Sadler for musician Herb Alpert and his brother, David. The son of Lost Soldier, bred in Kentucky by Stoneview Farm, has won four of nine starts, including three of his last four outings. The gelding was claimed from his breeder for $32,000 at Hollywood Park in his third career start at last July, and broke his maiden in his first start for his current connections. Julio Garcia returns for the mount on Ranger Heartley.
Connemara, a son of Giant's Causeway trained by Todd Pletcher for Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, finished second in the Cal Derby as the 7-10 favorite. The colt bred in Kentucky by Commonwealth broke his maiden in his career debut at Turfway Park and subsequently won an allowance during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet, both races over artificial surfaces. He will be ridden by Hall of Famer Russell Baze.
A gelded son of Johannesburg bred in Kentucky by Joseph Joyce, Thomas Baines is the most seasoned runner in the El Camino field, with 10 career starts. Trained by Doug O’Neil for AJL Productions, Thomas Baines has one win to his credit, along with five third-place finishes. He began his career in England before returning to the U.S. last fall. Tyler Baze, who was aboard for third-place finishes in the Eddie Logan Stakes and Cal Derby, has been named again.
El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), Feb. 20, Golden Gate Fields, $150,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, all carry 121 pounds, 3:45 p.m. (PST)
PP – Horse , Jockey
1—Haimish Hy, Michael Martinez
2—Thomas Baines, Tyler Baze
3—Posse Power, Frank Alvarado
4—Very Fair, William Antongeorgi III
5—Fog Alert, Chad Schvaneveldt
6—Our Minesweeper, Frank Alvarado
7—Ranger Heartley, Julio Garcia
8—Connemara, Russell Baze
9—Bert' N The Group, Juan Hernandez
10—Jairzihno, Brice Blanc