For the first time ever, the El Camino Real Derby, Golden Gate Fields' premier race for 3-year-olds and to be run on Feb. 16, will provide the winner with an automatic, all expenses paid berth in the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown, the Grade I, $1.5 million Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore, Md. (In order to qualify for this paid berth, the El Camino Real Derby winner must be Triple Crown nominated).
Run annually at Golden Gate Fields since 2005, the 37th El Camino Real Derby (originally run at Bay Meadows) will again be contested at a mile and one eighth on synthetic Tapeta and in addition to a fees-paid entry to the Preakness, it will also provide the winner with 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
“We are ecstatic to offer this intriguing incentive to run in the El Camino Real Derby to our horsemen, owners, breeders and their horses,” said David Duggan, vice president and general manager of Golden Gate Fields. “We have seen horses in the past go on and do big things in Triple Crown races after running here in the El Camino Real Derby and we are hoping to see that trend re-emerge with this new bonus in 2019.
“We've had 27 horses run in the Kentucky Derby after competing in the El Camino Real Derby,” continued Duggan. “Charismatic used the El Camino Real Derby as a prep for the Kentucky Derby in 1999 and he won the Preakness, too. Tabasco Cat won the El Camino Real Derby in 1994 and he ended up winning both the Preakness and the Belmont, so we know it can be done.”
The El Camino Real Derby is one of a dozen stakes races on the calendar for the upcoming 2018-'19 Golden Gate Fields Winter/Spring Meet, which gets under way the day after Christmas, on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and runs through Sunday, June 9.
Golden Gate Fields and Pimlico Racecourse are both owned by The Stronach Group, North America's largest owner of racetracks which also include Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita and Laurel Park.
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