02/15/2011 2:19PM

Plenty of options for Silver Medallion after El Camino win

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Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Silver Medallion wins the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Saturday’s runners in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby exited the race in good order.

Silver Medallion, the winner, vanned back to his Santa Anita barn Sunday.

“He came out of it great,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I was very pleased with his race. He’s a very nice horse.”

Asmussen and owner Michael Ryan will review “a tremendous amount of options” with the Badge of Silver colt, who scored his first main-track victory after winning the Eddie Logan on the turf at Santa Anita in his previous start.

“We’ll see how the horse trains coming out of the race and then make a decision,” said Asmussen, who scored his first training win at Golden Gate Fields with the victory.

The victory was a stepping-stone to the Preakness $5.5 million bonus. Silver Medallion could pick up $5 million for Ryan and $500,000 for Asmussen by winning the Santa Anita Derby and Preakness.

Snow Chief completed that trifecta of races in 1986.

Runner-up Jakesam ran a very good race, setting the pace and holding well in the lane, losing to Silver Medallion by 1 1/4 lengths while finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Gold Rush and California Derby winner Positive Response.

Trainer Billy Morey said he wasn’t sure where he would race Positive Response next but said that he would be checking condition books at tracks across the country.

“Overall, I’m happy,” Morey said. “I don’t think it was his best race, but he was still finishing going to the wire. If that’s his subpar race, I’ll take it.”

Most pre-race attention focused on Comma to the Top, only the third Grade 1 winner to enter the El Camino. He came into the race with a five-race winning streak, including the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. The first two wins in his streak came at Golden Gate Fields.

Trainer Peter Miller said the odds-on favorite who finished fourth “came out of the race great.”

A nine-week layoff, a long van ride to Golden Gate, and the 1 1/8-mile distance may have played against the Bwana Charlie gelding. Miller said he knew the race would be a “tough test.”

“I’m not disappointed,” he said, before saying that his star got “kind of an interesting ride.”

Comma to the Top bore out after breaking on top, creating a bit of a traffic problem, and then drifted out coming into the lane. Corey Nakatani was given a three-day suspension for the ride.

Miller maintains confidence in his $22,000 purchase who has earned $563,600.

“This is a big, heavy horse,” he said. “He needs a lot of racing and training. I know a lot of people doubted me when we ran him in the Generous before the CashCall after winning the Real Quiet.”

Maiden winner Formula Gold finished fifth, which neither surprised nor disappointed trainer Lloyd Mason.

“We took a shot,” he said as his son Brett’s homebred Formal Gold colt picked up $4,000 for the fifth-place finish. “It all worked out.”

Kinsale King returns in allowance

Kinsale King, winner of last year’s $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai, will make his first start since running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last November in a Thursday allowance race at Golden Gate. Mike Smith comes north to ride him in the day’s third race.

Though he’s making his racing debut here, Kinsale King knows Golden Gate’s Tapeta surface well. Last year after winning the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood at Hollywood Park and Grade 2 Palos Verdes at Santa Anita, he came to Golden Gate for a pair of works before heading to Dubai. He had a 1:00.20 five-furlong work and a 48.80 half-mile drill here.

Kinsale King be meeting Shudacudawudya, who defeated a similar field Jan. 27 in his first start in more than a year.

Trainer Lloyd Mason has galloped Shudacudawudya since his victory and doesn’t expect a bounce.

“He gave his best shot,” Mason said of his comeback victory. “It was pretty impressive, and he’s in good shape now.”

Gryder settling in at Golden Gate

Aaron Gryder got off to a good start at Golden Gate Fields, riding three winners from 16 mounts last week. He has nine mounts Thursday and Friday this week.

The 40-year-old rider’s career has taken him from Tijuana, Mexico, all over the United States, and on to Hong Kong and Dubai. He was riding for Steve Asmussen at Remington Park and Oaklawn before deciding to settle in at Golden Gate Fields.

“It was a pleasure working for him, and I look forward to getting the chance to ride for him again,” Gryder said during a break while working horses at Hollywood Park on Tuesday morning.

Gryder said his return to California was prompted by a desire to be closer to his children.

“I want to be a good jockey and a good father,” he said.

Gryder has raced at Golden Gate in the past, accompanying stakes runners from Southern California, but he is probably best known to Northern California fans as the rider for the Greg Gilchrist-trained Smokey Stover.

“Smokey Stover was a great horse, and I enjoyed riding him,” Gryder said. “He was a real fan favorite, and Mr. [Harry] Aleo and Mr. Gilchrist were good to work with.”

Gryder is getting a good handle on Golden Gate’s Tapeta surface and said jockeys and trainers must make adjustments on synthetic surfaces.

“At Santa Anita now, you can be pretty aggressive on the new dirt track,” he said. “I think you can win on the lead on Tapeta, but you need to be more patient.”

Gryder knows a lot about Tapeta, having met and talked at length with the surface’s inventor, Michael Dickinson, at the Tapeta track in Dubai.

Dennis Patterson is handling Gryder’s book, and Gryder is pleased with the way things have begun.

“I came up here, and it was the last four days of the condition book, but he got me on horses for everybody,” said Gryder, who has 3,288 victories during his career.

Track hosts confirmation clinic

The Thoroughbred Owners of California will conduct a conformation clinic for potential owners 10 a.m. Saturday at the Owner/Trainer Lounge at Golden Gate Fields.

Trainers Greg James, Richard Miller, and Morey will cover the basics of racehorse conformation and how it relates to soundness and performance while giving attendees close-up looks at horses.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended by calling TOC at (626) 574-6620.