03/01/2008 12:00AM

El Camino Real attracts crowd

Email

SAN MATEO, Calif. - The racing secretary at Bay Meadows, Tom Doutrich, was pleased that 25 3-year-olds were nominated to Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 El Camino Real Derby.

"Right now I'm happy with it," Doutrich said, waiting for Monday's draw. "This could be one of the deepest fields of nominees we've ever had. I don't see any 99-1 shots among the nominees. Top to bottom, I think this is as good a group as we can get."

Bay Meadows has been stressing that this is California's only Kentucky Derby prep on dirt. Doutrich said that might have helped with the number of nominees but conceded that some Southern California-based horses were nominated as a precaution because of the problems with the Santa Anita racing surface.

"This is a great race to see if you can step up to another level," Doutrich said. "This race has been one where horses have separated themselves in the past.

The connections of two local horses have indicated they will probably run.

Pleasure Grounds, runner-up in the six-furlong Stinson Beach Stakes, won a one-mile allowance race here on Feb. 15 and did enough to get trainer Dean Pederson to indicate he will enter. Autism Awareness, whose two best races, including a maiden victory in his last start Jan. 21 at Golden Gate Fields, have come at one mile is also considered a probable for the race.

Doutrich said trainer Steve Miyadi is considering entering the undefeated Bamaha Breeze, who has won three straight, including a seven-furlong race at Santa Anita on Feb. 21. The timing between the races, though, may be too tight.

Osiris Lunus going for four in row

Osiris Lunus, claimed in his past two starts, seeks his fourth straight victory as he meets four rivals in a $32,000 claimer at six furlongs in Monday's featured race.

A 5-year-old gelding, Osiris Lunus won two straight for a $20,000 claiming price after a pair of runner-up efforts at that level. He won for $25,000 in his last start on Feb. 14 and was claimed by John Martin, who wins at a rate of 33 percent off the claim.

Thoughtuknew could go off the favorite after winning at this level here on Feb. 7. He has won 4 of 6 starts here and also has a second-place finish.