03/08/2004 12:00AM

Skipaslew heads El Camino


ALBANY, Calif. - The two premier races of the Golden Gate Fields season are coming up, with the $200,000 Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby on Saturday and $125,000 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sunday.

Although it was pushed back a week and will be run the same weekend as the San Felipe, a Grade 3, $250,000 race at Santa Anita, the El Camino will have a strong field and an interesting mix of local stars and shippers.

Skipaslew, a southern California-based horse whose last three starts have come in northern California, is the probable favorite going in. He has won the Gold Rush Stakes and Grade 3 Golden Gate Derby in his last two starts.

Also scheduled to run are O.K. Mikie, a local who finished second in the Golden Gate Derby and won the Golden State Mile; Wildwood Flower, a stakes-winning filly; Trevanian; and Kilgowan.

Mambo Train, the Turf Paradise Derby winner, and Dwango, from the connections of last year's El Camino winner, Ocean Terrace, are also listed as definites for the El Camino, a 1 1/16-mile race that has produced more than its share of classic winners.

Soud, who has been assigned 118 pounds, All the Boys, Gent, Ringaskiddy, and Bring Home Thegold are planning to run in the Golden Gate at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Epicentre, who would be the highweight at 121 pounds, is considered possible for the race.