02/16/2017 11:56AM

Plenty of potential on display in El Camino Real Derby

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Sheer Flattery is the favorite for the El Camino Real Derby off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.

Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields may not have a true headliner among its field of seven, but there’s not a throw-out in the bunch, and each has given at least a hint of potential.

The 1 1/8-mile race is worth 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, with a 4-2-1 allocation for second, third, and fourth. Only three of the runners have been nominated to the Triple Crown: 7-5 morning-line favorite Sheer Flattery, 2-1 second choice Ann Arbor Eddie, and the maiden Kona Dreams.

Sheer Flattery is the only runner in the field with Derby points, having earned two for his third-place finish in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 4. Sheer Flattery was the 7-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis off a nose maiden win at Santa Anita at the same distance. In the Lewis, Sheer Flattery chased Royal Mo and Irap around the track and fell a neck short of catching Irap for second, with Royal Mo drawing off to win.

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Ann Arbor Eddie has won both of his starts since stretching out around two turns. He won the one-mile King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos in December and the 1 1/16-mile California Cup Derby at Santa Anita on Jan. 28. Both races were for California-breds. In November, Ann Arbor Eddie finished third in the Grade 3 Bob Hope, a seven-furlong race at Del Mar won by Mastery, California’s top 3-year-old male.

More Power to Him was third in the Gold Rush and second in the California Derby – Golden Gate’s prep races for the El Camino Real Derby – and won a one-mile optional claimer in between. Trainer Faith Taylor said More Power to Him is maturing.

“He’s legit, the real deal,” she said.

Tribal Storm was beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Ann Arbor Eddie in the California Cup Derby, his first start around two turns and in two months. Trainer Ed Moger Jr. said he expects Tribal Storm to improve on Saturday.

Colonel Samsen won the one-mile Gold Rush here and ran an even third in the California Derby. Zakaroff has chased More Power to Him in his two route tries. Kona Dreams is a Santa Anita-based maiden making his first start on the main track. He was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Colonel Samsen in a maiden race at Del Mar in November.

El Camino Real Derby

Key Contenders

Sheer Flattery, by Flatter

Last 3 Beyers: 88-87-72

◗ He has the top three Beyer Speed Figures in the field.

◗ He’s coming back only two weeks after the Robert B. Lewis but was able to get in a work over the track here Tuesday.

◗ He’s trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and will be ridden by Golden Gate’s leading jockey, Frank Alvarado.

Ann Arbor Eddie, by Square Eddie

Last 3 Beyers: 81-82-81

◗ He closely stalked the pace in his stakes wins and could wind up on the lead here.

◗ He’s part of the deep Doug O’Neill band of 3-year-olds.

More Power to Him, by Slew’s Tiznow

Last 3 Beyers: 80-74-65

◗ He led in the lane in the California Derby and was caught late by So Conflated. After the race, jockey Alejandro Gomez said he might have moved too soon.