Blackadder and Edwin Maldonado winning the El Camino Real Derby
Blackadder defeated ten sophomore foes in the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif. With the victory, Blackadder earned an all-expenses paid, free berth into the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, on May 21. The aforementioned Preakness incentive has been awarded to the winner of the El Camino Real Derby since 2018. Last year, El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer took advantage of the free berth and went on to win the Preakness for trainer Michael McCarthy and jockey Flavien Prat.
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering at 7-2, Blackadder – ridden by Edwin Maldonado – sat in midpack and saved ground on the clubhouse turn and around the far turn bend as longshot Nuestro Engreido set the pace with fractions of :23.46, :47.77 and 1:12.58.
At the quarter pole, Maldonado waited for a seam, found room in upper stretch, and Blackadder accelerated towards 3-5 race favorite Mackinnon, who had taken the lead at the furlong pole after one mile in 1:37.96. In the final furlong, Blackadder made up ground and, approaching the sixteenth pole, was level with Mackinnon. The two Southern California shippers battled to the wire, with Blackadder a neck in front at the finish.
Final time on the Tapeta synthetic surface was 1:50.34 for the nine furlongs.
Blackadder is trained by Bob Baffert, who picked up his third El Camino Real Derby victory with Saturday’s win. Baffert won the 1996 edition with Cavonnier and the 2019 running with Azul Coast. Blackadder paid $9.60 to win, $3.80 to place and $3.00 to show. Mackinnon paid $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show, with Del Mo returning $4.40 to show.
“[Baffert] told me that if I’m gonna win, I’m gonna have to earn it because [Blackadder] is a bit lazy,” said Maldonado. “I wanted to be behind because there were three sprinters stretching out. I knew the pace would be fast, so I wanted to stay inside and then swing out when we got to the stretch. [Turning for home], there were too many horses outside of me, so I had to wait. I noticed that Mackinnon got the jump on me, but I was able to get through an opening, and [Blackadder] got it done.”
Mackinnon, who ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and was a multiple stakes winner last year at 2 in Southern California, settled for second under jockey Abel Cedillo. He was 3 1/2 lengths lengths clear of stablemate Del Mo, who checked in third. Il Bellator completed the superfecta, C’Mon Man was fifth, followed by Boise, Nuestro Engreido, Unraptured, Stormy Samurai, Meetmeattheclub, and Dr Pescado.
Seventeen Kentucky Derby points were also on the line, but with Baffert horses unable to earn qualifying points while the the trainer is under a two-year suspension by Churchill Downs, only the minor awards were earned. Mackinnon received four points, Del Mo two and Il Bellator one.
Updated Kentucky Derby Leaderboard
With the victory, Blackadder increased his career earnings to $108,920. The son of Quality Road was bred in Kentucky by Stone Farm and purchased for $620,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He now sports a lifetime record of two wins from four starts. Blackadder is owned by the large syndicate group of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm LLC.
Live racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday with an 8-race card. Sunday has an early first post time of 11:15 AM, so fans can enjoy the races and get home in time for “the big game.”