With synthetic tracks going out of fashion in the United States over the last few years, options for amassing Kentucky Derby points over anything but dirt have become few and far between. One of those rare remaining opportunities comes this Saturday over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, in the El Camino Real Derby.
The El Camino Real Derby, named after the so-called “Royal Road” that connects the Spanish missions from the San Francisco Bay south to San Diego, began its life in 1982. It was run at the late Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo from 1982 through 2000, and again from 2005-2008. Golden Gate Fields hosted the race from 2001-2004, and again from 2009 through the present day. The race was run at 1 1/16 miles for most of its history, but stretched out to its current 1 1/8 mile distance in 2009. The race gained a Grade 3 designation in 1986, but was downgraded to listed status this year. Its purse was also cut in half, $100,000 this year versus $200,000 last year. Even so, it still offers its customary 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby points to its top four finishers.