Horak: How I'm betting the 2020 El Camino Real Derby

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Offering Kentucky Derby qualifying points, Saturday's El Camino Real Derby will also send its winner -- assuming he's nominated to the Triple Crown -- to the Preakness Stakes. The Golden Gate Fields showcase features a competitive group of 11, and Bob Baffert’s lightly raced colt Azul Coast is the headliner. Before deciding how to bet Saturday’s seventh race at Golden Gate, with post time at 6:52 p.m. ET, let’s meet the field.

The Favorite

#9 Azul Coast (2-1) raced wide and impressively broke his maiden in his dirt route debut at Los Alamitos Dec. 8. He did not get pace help in a distant place finish behind his stablemate Authentic in the Sham (G3) second time out. Baffert’s late runner has plenty of stamina and should be heard from late if he handles the synthetic surface.

Value Win Contenders

#1 Indian Peak (7-2) looked like he was full of run turning for home in the California Cup Derby last time on Santa Anita's dirt, but he steadied and failed to kick home in the stretch. Before that, he beat three of Saturday’s rivals in a Golden Gate all-weather route race Dec. 27. He has a pair of local bullets in his holster and figures to save ground stalking the pace under jockey Juan Hernandez.

#10 Czechmight (6-1) showed marked improvement in a front-running dirt route maiden win at Keeneland second time out. Richard Baltas has him now, and he will probably be forwardly placed.

Live Longshots

#8 Ajourneytofreedom (12-1) was on the upswing before taking a small step back in a close-up fourth Jan. 19. Hernandez abandons for Indian Peak.

#11 The Stiff (8-1) rallied to take the common Jan. 19 route affair at Golden Gate. He should handle the added ground if the last race is any indication.

Remaining Entrants

#7 Sacred Honor (9-2) stalked, took the lead and missed by a neck while drifting in during the Cal Cup Derby. He was clearly second best that day, but is 0-for-4 on all-weather footing and might not appreciate longer distances.

#6 Final Final (15-1) broke his maiden on turf and has lost all three local starts on synthetic since. He will try to get involved late.

#5 Mysterious Stones (15-1) stepped up and had his three-race win streak snapped Jan. 19. The early pressing type earned an improved number last time but is going to have to run faster to threaten the top contenders in this race.

#4 Wine and Whisky (15-1) removed blinkers and missed by a neck Jan. 19. A stalking trip is expected.

#3 American Farmer (15-1) got pace help in his route maiden win on Jan. 26. This is a big class test as Kent Desormeaux hops aboard the late runner.

#2 Praise Loudly (50-1) hit the board in his last three starts against lesser local rivals. He is light on numbers.

Wagering Strategies

#1 to win

Exacta 1/9-10-11

Exacta 9-10-11/1

Trifecta 1-9/1-9-10-11/1-7-8-9-10-11