2008 El Camino Real Derby Recap

2008 El Camino Real Derby Recap
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com

Autism Awareness creates just that with longshot win in El Camino Real Derby

Triggers monster Superfecta payoff at Bay Meadows

March 8, 2008 It never appeared at any time during the 27th running of the $150,000 El Camino Real Derby-G3 that Autism Awareness did not have a great chance to win. So how did he go off at odds of 62-1? Maybe the bettors thought the recent maiden breaker wouldnt come from off the pace.

The 3-year-old colt by Tannersmyman-Lady Essex by Sharp Victor took advantage of a good inside trip stalking a pressured pace under jockey Luis Contreras and exploded from the outside in mid stretch to open up and hold on late by 1 - lengths over game but green pacesetter Nikkisgoldensteed. In reality, Autism Awareness was full of run throughout the race and probably would have run over horses on the final turn if allowed. Finding no real room inside on the turn, Contreras swung the willing colt outside for the drive and that was all he needed.


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On form it did look like Autism Awareness might be a one dimensional speed horse, but he rated rather kindly in the El Camino and could be set for further improvement based on the running style change angle.

Pacesetter Nikkisgoldensteed ran a strong race in defeat while setting the pace inside under pressure. He was jumping shadows early but still managed fractions of 23.61, 47.10 and 1:11.07 before getting the mile in 1:36.60 and turning back bids from both Tres Borrachos and Pleasure Grounds in mid stretch. He accelerated again when the winner went by to make sure of second place by 1 -lengths over Tres Barrachos, who finished a head in front of fourth-place finisher Pleasure Grounds.

The final time for the mile and a sixteenth over the fast track was 1:43.17, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

Favored Santa Anita shipper Coast Guard was in good position throughout and within striking range inside into the stretch but failed to show much try late after getting dirt kicked in his face.

It was the biggest career win for both trainer Genaro Vallejo and jockey Luis Contreras, but it was an even bigger win for owner John Taboada, who had bought the horse for only $1,000 at the September 2006 CTBA Sale in Pleasanton. Taboada named the horse for his son Renzo, who suffers from autism.

Autism Awareness increased his earnings to $151,967 with the win, from a record of 2-3-1 in 14 starts. He had improved substantially in his race prior to the El Camino Real Derby, wiring a field of maidens by four lengths going a mile at Golden Gate on January 21. Maybe the lights went on in that race.

Regardless, the winner created some excellent awareness for a great cause with his spectacular $2 win payoff of $126.00, but made even more noise when he triggered a $1 Superfecta payout of $40,974.20. And now the owner is considering late nomination to the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

Could it be the feel good story of the year?

2008 El Camino Real Derby Results and Payoffs

March 8, 2008 - 8th Race Bay Meadows

3 Autism Awareness $126.00 $46.40 $17.60

1 Nikkisgoldensteed $4.60 $3.80

5 Tres Borrachos $7.20

6 Pleasure Grounds

$1 Exacta 3-1 paid $296.80

$2 Quinella 1-3 paid $171.60

$1 Trifecta 3-1-5 paid $3,252.10

$1 Superfecta 3-1-5-6 paid $40,974.20