John Fradkin and Diane Fradkin’s homebred Rombauer earned 10 points on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series following his neck victory in the $101,350 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on Feb. 13. The three-year-old colt negotiated nine furlongs on the Tapeta surface in 1:51.64 with Kyle Frey in the silks. He currently sits in sixth place on the leaderboard with 14 total points.

The winner improved his lifetime line to 5-2-1-0, $210,500 after notching his first stakes victory. He debuted on the turf at Del Mar on July 25 and rallied to win at first asking. His second engagement came on the same lawn, where he checked in sixth while beaten by just two lengths in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf S.

Rombauer was moved to the dirt for his third outing and finished a fine runner-up in the American Pharoah S. (G1) at Santa Anita, finishing well clear of future Grade 2 star Spielberg. The Michael McCarthy trainee concluded his two-year-old campaign with a fifth-place result in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.

The son of Twirling Candy is the first black-type winner produced from the unraced Cowboy Cal mare Cashmere, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 3 standouts California Flag and Cambiocorsa. This is the same female line as four-time Group 1-winning English champion Roaring Lion.

Rombauer has shown marked improvement since moving to the main surface following his second career outing. He has posted decent Brisnet Speed figures of 89-93-91 in his last trio of performances. The colt is bred to excel on the lawn, and his immediate family leans towards a middle distance runner, so I have concerns about his potential to peak at classic distances against the best of his crop.

Due to his versatility to perform well on any surface, the connections of Rombauer have stated that ‘all options are in play’ for his next appearance. The San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita on Mar. 6 is a possible next destination for the talented sophomore.