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Feb 13, 2009

Seven entered for El Camino Real Derby


Albany, CA (Sports Network) - The top three finishers from last month's California Derby headline the field for Saturday's $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Seven three-year-olds have been entered in the 1 1/8 mile race on the trail to the Kentucky Derby.

California Derby winner Chocolate Candy is the expected favorite and is fresh off his 1 3/4 length victory over Axel Foley and Merus Miami in January. The colt will start from the outside post in the seven-horse field with Hall of Fame rider Russell Baze back in the saddle.

Owned by Jenny Craig and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Chocolate Candy has won three of his last four starts, including the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park in November. He was third to Pioneerof the Nile in the CashCall Futurity.

Overall, Chocolate Candy has earned $262,500 with three wins out of seven starts.

Axel Foley, runner-up in the California Derby, has drawn post three with Michael Baze riding. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Axel Foley will be making just his fifth career start on Saturday, going after win number two.

Axel Foley also started in the CashCall Futurity in December, finishing sixth in the 11-horse field. He has a career bankroll of $47,640.

Local runner Merus Miami returns following his third-place finish in the California Derby. He will start from post five with Corey Nakatani getting the riding assignment.

"I hope the added distance really helps him," said trainer O.J. Jauregui. "I've always thought that he wanted to go long, so we'll see how he does on Saturday."

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Merus Miami won the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate in his second start in December. The colt has made all his starts at Golden Gate with $74,400 in earnings.

Here is the complete field for the El Camino Real Derby in post position order: Aquicksting, Michael Martinez; Raising Memo, Saul Arias; Axel Foley, Michael Baze; Massone, Frank Alvarado; Merus Miami, Corey Nakatani; Rendezvous, Roberto Gonzalez; and Chocolate Candy, Russell Baze. All starters will carry 121 pounds.

Post-time for the El Camino Real is set for 7:15 p.m. (et).

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