2023 El Camino Real Derby Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)
1. GILMORE (4-1) – The first of two from Baffert, who has won this race two of the last three years, and only he and stablemate and Nullarbor are Triple Crown nominated; good effort sprinting on debut at Del Mar, he rebounded as an overwhelming favorite to win convincingly over a mile at Los Alamitos, beating next-out winner Roll On Big Joe (who beat Florida-breds at Gulfstream to graduate); remains with significant upside, though a potential underlay given connections, relative inexperience, and unfamiliarity with Tapeta.
2. CHASE THE CHAOS (3-1) – Two-turn form has been solid, including a strong second in the Gold Rush S. to multiple stakes winner and returning rival Passarando, and a follow-up allowance win by a wide margin over next-out winner Happy Does; figures to sit a nice trip a few lengths behind a couple rivals that should ensure an honest pace; logical threat.
3. HAPPY DOES (10-1) – Grinded out an allowance win going a mile last time; note, however, that he won’t have the benefit of Lasix this time around; didn’t make much noise when taking on some of these in the Gold Rush in early December, and no serious indications since then he’s improved enough to be more than a minor award candidate.
4. PASSARANDO (2-1) – The most experienced one in the field, he’s notched a couple stakes wins already while proving effective over both synthetic and dirt surfaces; although latest at Santa Anita was a comparatively dull third in the Cal Cup Derby, he overcame a moderate pace in the Gold Rush two back and won going away over a mile here; the pace might prove even more honest in this race, and the nine-furlong distance figures to suit as he faces speedier rivals with comparatively less two-turn experience.
5. HARCYN (5-1) – Moss homebred possesses some impressive bloodlines; by Goldencents, he’s out of a half-sister to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Giacomo and multiple Grade 1 winner Tiago; although confined to sprints so far, pedigree obviously suggests he can get this distance; hard to fault either of his first two starts, though allowance score was at the expense of only three rivals, and he wouldn’t want to get into a speed duel; likeable.
6. IN HONOR OF AUTISM (12-1) – Consistent colt has compiled a nice record to date, albeit against much softer fields; this marks a significant jump in class and distance for him after knocking heads with $16K maiden claimers and starter allowance types in sprints; with his stalking style, the distance probably won’t prove as big a hurdle as the class rise.
7. SEA DOG (20-1) – Ran evenly as a longshot in the allowance won by Happy Does; while that improved effort was welcome, he’ll have to take it up a notch or two more in this spot for high percentage barn; worth pointing out his only prior success came over dirt, at Fresno.
8. NULLARBOR (6-1) – Sold for a half-million at auction, but after two nondescript efforts he had to plunge into the claiming ranks to get the maiden win; ran the opposition off their feet that day, but that was over six and this is a significant step up in trip he’s taking while negotiating unfamiliar footing for the first time; probable underlay with Baffert in his corner.