Preakness Stakes Prep: Last El Camino Real Derby

The road to the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) officially opens Saturday with the final running of the El Camino Real Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Yes, there are a few free passes to the second leg of the Triple Crown, set for May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.

Racing Towards Dreams: The El Camino Derby’s Road to the Preakness

Rombauer- Photo Courtesy of Bill Denver/MJC

The El Camino Derby winner receives an automatic berth into the 1 3/16-mile Preakness and three other races offer the same deal: the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park and the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park, both on April 20, and the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 4.

The Derby offers qualifying points for more than three dozen prep races with the top 20 point-earners gaining a spot in the Run for the Roses.

Three of the past four El Camino Real winners ran in the Preakness, with Michael McCarthy-trained Rombauer pulling off a victory in 2021 over Midnight Bourbon.

From Three Straight Wins to Preakness Hope: Endlessly’s Journey

McCarthy could have another Preakness contender in Endlessly, the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of eight.

The colt opened his career with three straight victories, including a pair Grade 3s, then ran eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

“We sort of drew a line through the Breeders’ Cup,” McCarthy told “Things didn’t unfold the way we expected. He wants to sit behind horses and make that one run. In the Breeders’ Cup, he was up on the pace and didn’t get his kind of trip.”

Racing Highlights: Tapolo and Wild Jewels Headline the Upcoming Showdown

Endlessly,exercises during morning workouts at Santa Anita ParkTapolo, the 3-1 second choice, is a recent maiden winner. He is likely to start quickly as might Wild Jewels (5-1), a two-time stakes winner at Golden Gate.

Umberto Rispoli has the call aboard Endlessly leaving from post 6.

Golden Gate Fields is scheduled to close in June. 1/ST racing owns Pimlico and Golden Gate Fields.

Post time is 7:45 p.m. ET

The picks: 1 Endlessly 2 Tapolo 3 Guy Named Joe

The field for the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, from the rail out, with jockey, trainer, odds:

1 Come Out Fighting (Luis Aburto, Bill McLean), 8-1

2 Grogu (Irving, Orozco, Matt Troy), 20-1

3 Wild Jewels (Frank Alvarado, Steven Specht), 5-1

4 Arctic Breeze (William Antongeorgi III, Blaine Wright), 8-1

5 Old Triangle (Hugo Herrera, Tim Bellasis), 10-1

6 Endlessly (Umberto Rispoli, Michael McCarthy), 2-1

7 Tapolo (Evin Roman, John Sadler), 3-1

8 Guy Named Joe (Alex Chavez, Doug O’Neill), 5-1

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