Ciaglia Racing and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Paved made history on Saturday by becoming the first filly ever to win Northern California’s Kentucky Derby (G1) scoring race, the $100,900 El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields.
Although Paved would receive 10 Derby points if she were nominated to the Triple Crown, the Run for the Roses isn’t in her plans. According to a report earlier this week in the Blood-Horse, connections are focused on the major races for three-year-old turf fillies later in the season. Indeed, Paved was coming off a smashing, 5 1/2-length maiden score on the turf at Santa Anita, and her defeat of the boys on Golden Gate’s Tapeta surface only reinforces the idea her preferences lie in a turf/synthetic direction.
Trained by Mike McCarthy, a protégé of seven-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Todd Pletcher, Paved was dispatched as the 2-1 favorite. So impressive was her maiden victory at this 1 1/8-mile distance that bettors preferred her even though she was the lone filly in the field, and trying stakes company for the first time.
Jockey Drayden Van Dyke engineered a textbook trip from their rail draw. Paved was parked just off the pace set by 26-1 longshot Calexman, who retreated on the far turn. As the stalking Mugaritz took over, Paved swung out into the stretch and clearly had more momentum than the new leader.
Paved lengthened stride beautifully and drew away to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:50.04. That’s just outside the stakes record (since the El Camino Real moved to Golden Gate in 2009) of 1:49.92 owned by Metaboss (2015) and within hailing distance of Delightful Kiss’s track record of 1:49.54.
Godolphin’s City Plan rallied for second at odds of 9-1, and the 10-1 Blended Citizen finished third. Mugaritz tired to fourth. Not Triple Crown nominees either, they would earn points, respectively, on the 4-2-1 scale, only if they’re made Triple Crown eligible later.
Choo Choo, the slight 2-1 second choice after his victory in the January 20 California Derby, raced in proximity with Paved early but couldn’t go on with the filly. The Triple Crown-nominated colt was unable to land any points in fifth. Could Be the One, Epical, Calexman, and Unlawful Act concluded the order under the wire.
Paved, a well-named daughter of Quality Road, is the latest filly to make headlines for her sire. Quality Road sired two champion fillies just last year, with Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) heroine Caledonia Road, now a 2018 Oaks hopeful. Paved is his second El Camino Real Derby winner, following Frank Conversation in 2016.
A $320,000 two-year-old in training purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company last March, the dark bay Kentucky-bred has now earned $104,640 from her 4-2-0-2 record. She rallied for third in her first two starts at a mile on turf, but the combination of seasoning and added distance has revealed her talent.
Paved photo courtesy of Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography