El Camino Real Continues SHOWdown Drive to $1 Million

When playing races or carryovers at tracks I normally don’t play, I try to lean on the Ultimate Race Summary found in the Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances, but the El Camino Real Derby (click for FREE PPs) on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields does not afford such a luxury because there has only been one 1 1/8-mile race so far this meeting at the Bay area track.

A (free!) fallback is the At A Glance section of the Brisnet.com The Handicapper’s Edge, which includes more general info on current meetings. For 1 1/16-mile races on the main (Tapeta Footings synthetic) track at the current Golden Gate meeting, there have been 11 gate-to-wire winners from 33 races, and the “Best Style” is an “E” type.

Ah… but there are no “E” types in this edition of the El Camino, which seems to most benefit Enterprising, an “E/P” type with a field-leading 7 Quirin Speed Points who gets a Racing Hall of Fame jockey (Gary Stevens) who knows how to pilot a front-end horse.

Enterprising is also the only El Camino entrant who ran 90+ pace ratings from the start of his last race to the first and second calls, and he finished well enough off that pace to register the highest last-out speed rating as well (whereas other horses in the field with just one 90+ pace rating in the E1 or E2 categories have all faded).

The question from a wagering standpoint is whether the morning line is accurate in pegging Enterprising at 5-to-2. I figure Tamarando would go favored, but the Grade 1 winner is the morning line 3-to-1 second choice in the field of eight. I don’t mind if Enterprising is the favorite, but anything less than 5-to-2 and I’m looking elsewhere.

My top alternative is Craftsman, who drew the rail for his three-year-old debut, but more importantly makes his second start on Lasix after beginning his career in his native Ireland where his Class Ratings fit with these.

So from a win standpoint, the morning line is my floor on Enterprising, but Craftsman at 8-to-1 is more than enough (I’d be fine with 5-to-1), and I’ll use both in equal strength in multi-race wagering.

I think the rest are equal in their appeal. Tamarando is a notch below my “A” horses but will be bet as heavily, so I see him as an underlay even for multi-race wagering purposes. None of the other five are higher than 10-to-1, and indeed, I see them as equals, but I’d want 15-to-1 on any of them. I haven’t looked at the Pick 4 yet, but if there’s a chance to narrow elsewhere I wouldn’t mind the ability to use “ALL” in here on a backup ticket.

But win and even Pick 4 wagering is pennies compared to what’s still at stake for 1,920 TwinSpires.com players who are live in the Road To The Kentucky Derby SHOWdown and the $1-million top prize for connecting 20 consecutive $20 show wagers.

They have one race down after the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 8 at Santa Anita Park and this weekend have the El Camino (Saturday) and Southwest Stakes (Monday at Oaklawn Park) ahead of them.

We’ll get to the Southwest on Monday morning, but how many of the aforementioned 1,920 will? If 80% advance out of the El Camino as they did out of the Lewis then 1,536 will be alive to the Southwest, but I think that level again this week would require both Tamarando and Enterprising hitting the board, and that’s no gimme.

So who’s the play for show if you’re only concern is advancing and not value? I’d have no problem talking anyone off a win bet on either Tamarando at less than 2-to-1 but can understand the show appeal. He’s definitely as fast as any in the field, and while the pace might compromise his win chances, he’ll be running late against some known faders.

Still, I’d go with Enterprising, who I just think will be in complete control of the race and even if he’s caught late is good enough to hang around. Put another way, I don’t think anyone who runs with him will finish ahead of him, and if he goes on with it he wins and even if he doesn’t he’s fast enough to beat five of these.

For those who played in our LAST LONGEST contest on Twitter, click here for the El Camino Real tweet to retweet.

And on the TwinSpires.com side, even if you’re already out for the $1-million, there is still plenty to play for, including prizes for the most winning show wagers during the prep season and a $10,000 pool for those who hit $20 to show on the Kentucky Derby itself to share.

Another promo this week on TwinSpires.com involving both the El Camino and Southwest is our Presidents’ Weekend Show-Place-Win for 1-million points that involves a show wager Saturday, place wager Sunday, and win wager Monday. The graphic shows Washington and Lincoln, but it actually takes an Andrew Jackson ($20) to participate!


Leave a Comment:


mary z......big horse runs tomorrow......what ya think?

14 Feb 2014 8:33 PM
Mary Zinke

KY, If you mean TBG's 4 at GGF, then he's what's known as the class, but none of my business the boy hasn't had a rest and he is starting to be way late, but then what do I know. Can't leave him out, but I also like 8,5,and 7.  

14 Feb 2014 10:52 PM
Mary Zinke

I went 8,5,4 top picks, then 3 and 7 as alternates in a contest. I rarely play GGF, except occasionally turf stakes there.

14 Feb 2014 11:16 PM

my filly runs.......1st time........

15 Feb 2014 12:51 AM
Mary Zinke

Only one I know is the 3.  GL, KY.

15 Feb 2014 1:39 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Handicapping contest 'downstairs' on Keelerman's Unlocking Winners Blog - check it out

15 Feb 2014 8:36 AM

One race for Saturday.  #5 in the 2d at GP.  

15 Feb 2014 10:49 AM

For the Southwest, I'm going with a closer.  Seems to be way too much speed.  I like the #6 and #12 for the pace set up.  Arroyo had choice of either and went with the maiden.  Winning at 20% is good enough for me.  

15 Feb 2014 10:58 AM
Plod Boy Phil

GP R2  I'll take the

4 Saratoga Karaoke off back to back 'none chance' trips in speed favoring events facing MSWs

15 Feb 2014 11:48 AM
Pedigree Ann

Well, that's two down, and two winners, which I didn't expect. I mean Tamarando was the class horse of the field, but after the half in - what was it? nearly 50 I think - chart isn't up yet - anyway, I didn't expect him to win with that slow early pace. Oh, well, here's hoping I can get one on the board on Monday.

15 Feb 2014 10:32 PM

Obviously I mean the 1A in the Southwest.  All the better he's grouped.  Never liked Strong Mandate.  

16 Feb 2014 9:17 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Curious the dislike of Strong Mandate as a horse - he set the pace of the Extreme Race for Closers that was the BCJ. Speed horses exiting said event have fared well.

re: Roger Rocket

His MSW was win was in the top 5% of Most Closers Favoring races run at the distance since the return to dirt at SA.  There is little to no chance those dynamics replay themselves in a far more talented field.  Additionally,  the stretch from a 5.5f debut to 7f has always been a negative for me.

16 Feb 2014 10:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

I think Strong Mandate is a monster who's only had one bad race.  I will bet against Tapiture on the rail.  Ride On Curlin' is fast, and sharp off a sprint, but seems able to run a good race from off the pace.  Chalky, but I'll take Strong Mandate and Ride On Curlin' exacta.

16 Feb 2014 2:46 PM
Rusty Weisner

I might try the troubled Fire Starter and Bourbonize under those two in tris.

16 Feb 2014 3:05 PM

Phil, I feel Strong Mandate earned his reputation based on the mud aided Hopeful romp.  I was not impressed with the BCJ.  Track was a conveyer belt all day.  Relative to other races, the splits weren't that tough.  Not sure how that race was a flow for closers.  I saw two horses on the lead who don't want 1 1/16th.  He might prove me wrong, but for now, is a bet against.  Southwest is a closers race (in my opinion).    

16 Feb 2014 4:21 PM
Rusty Weisner


SA was not a conveyor belt BC Day.  While it's a day I prefer to forget, I remember that much.  Very kind to closing efforts:  Ria Antonia, New Year's Day, the "Z" horse that beat Flashback.  Others got up for second off big runs.

I feel like 2-1 is generous for Strong Mandate off the effort, out of the 13-hole no less.

16 Feb 2014 5:22 PM
Plod Boy Phil

We recorded a moderate to important Speed Bias on BC Friday.  There was No Bias on Saturday despite what some talking heads could not grasp as late as the BCC.

As for the BCJ, it ranks in the top 5% of Most Closer favoring Flows going 8.5f since SA went back to dirt (~250 races.

16 Feb 2014 6:26 PM
Plod Boy Phil

correction:  BC Friday Speed Bias fell between important and severe

16 Feb 2014 6:29 PM

That was a nice second VET, at great odds.... Congrats

16 Feb 2014 7:58 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Late P4 at Oaklawn:

R7) 10 Belle Natalie

16 Feb 2014 10:13 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Santa Anita  R5  5 Abide in Me (6-1) comes into this 6.4f turf sprint off back to back upgrades as the front-runner of two Closer favoring races,  including an Extreme at 8f on the turf in which he stayed on well into mid stretch.

17 Feb 2014 10:16 AM
Pedigree Ann

So where is the Southwest analysis? Monday A. M. at 10 EST.

17 Feb 2014 10:17 AM

The 2014 renewal of the Southwest appears to be the best field assembled in the last 10 years. The race has proven to be a heaven for favorites. This race has also proven to be very unkind to closers. It will be contested at 1 1/16m for the 2nd time.  It is difficult to assess whether the extra 1/2F has been beneficial to closers as the 2013 renewal was contested of a sloppy/muddy track and the loose on the lead horse made all convincingly.

The Wayne Lukas trainer Strong Mandate is the worthy ML favorite. I like Strong Mandate as the history of this race suggest his tactical speed and proven class should be a potent combination for his opponents. However, I am concerned about his mixed record beyond 7F.

He finished dissapointing 7th in the Champagne and he surrendered the lead in the BCJ quite quickly to Havana. Although resolute to the line, the like of Bond Holder, Tap It Rich and Maxekoma were closing on him rapidly from the back of the field on a speed bias track.

I absolutely hate chalks and I am tempted to throw Strong Mandate out of the exacta despite his credentials. However, that would be dangerous. I will therefore key the Tiznow colt with Bourbonize, Ride On Curlin, Louies Flower, Paganol and Fire Starter. I will also reverse the bet. Just in case Strong Mandate repeats his Champagne performance, I am also going to box the five horses beneath him.

I am hoping Coastline and Tapiture become victims of the expected hot pace and the closers can benefit.  The colts I am really interested to see perform are Bourbonize, Paganol and Fire Starter.

17 Feb 2014 11:19 AM
Rusty Weisner

A little help, people.  No one reminded me to factor in outside post positions at Oaklawn at 8.5f.

I still like Strong Mandate.  Oxbow got hung wide in a couple of his Derby preps, too.

18 Feb 2014 7:47 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

On the surface,  I see no reason on the surface to discard Strong Mandate as a Rebel contender. He clearly needed the race, and ran well after a slow start and wide trip behind the forwardly placed winner.  

18 Feb 2014 8:00 AM

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