When the March Madness picks are set each season, it's never surprising to see the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the shortlist of potential NCAA Tournament champions.
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El Camino Real Derby
El Camino Real Derby Picks
By Brent Sedo
Despite having only maiden win to his credit in five lifetime starts, the track oddsmaker has installed Sheer Flattery as the 7-5 morning line favorite for the El Camino Real.
The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained colt gained his first lifetime score on a sloppy Santa Anita track on the last day of December, chasing pace setter Leading Score through a quick opening mile before getting up to win by a nose in the 1 1/16 mile test. He followed that up by running third in the (G3) Robert B. Lewis Stakes, where he ran evenly throughout and closed late on the second place finisher and just missed the place money by a neck.
Facing him will be Doug O'Neill's Ann Arbor Eddie (2-1), a California-bred winner of three of four lifetime, including a pair of minor stakes scores at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos.
In both those efforts he stalked favored California Diamond and then dueled with that one through the stretch before pulling away late, in the former just getting up in the shadow of the wire. Prior to that he had finished third in the (G3) Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar, where he had a bit of a slow start, and proved no match for the winner. He appears to be an improving horse and could take another step forward here.
Among the others, the lightly raced Tribal Storm (8-1) broke his maiden in his second lifetime start in a 6 1/2 furlong allowance event back in late November, where he chased fast early fractions and showed a willingness to dig down in deep stretch to hold off a strong challenge from the runner-up. A similar effort here should make him competitive with these. He's had one additional start in 2017, finishing third behind Ann Arbor Eddie in the California Cup Derby. He gets a jockey change to regular Golden Gate veteran Abel Cedillo.
Rounding out the ticket, the well-bred Colonel Samsen (10-1) has been in the money in five-of-eight lifetime starts, and picked up his first stakes win in the Gold Rush Stakes on the Golden Gate track back in December. He opened his three-year-old campaign by running sixth in the (G3) Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, and most recently ran third in the California Cup Derby behind Ann Arbor Eddie.
The El Camino Real Derby goes Saturday, February 18 from Golden Gate Fields. Post time is 3:45 PM Pacific.
Entries w/ ML Odds
1) Zakaroff (20-1)
2) More Power To Him (6-1)
3) Ann Arbor Eddie (2-1)
4) Tribal Storm (8-1)
5) Sheer Flattery (7-5)
6) Colonel Samsen (10-1)
7) Kona Dreams (8-1)
#1 - Ann Arbor Eddie
#2 - Tribal Storm
#3 - Sheer Flattery
#4 - Colonel Samsen
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