ALBANY -- Tamarando, filling in for injured stablemate Exit Stage Left, rallied from last in a field of eight to win the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.
Exit Stage Left, an undefeated colt with three stakes victories, sustained a tendon injury a week prior to the official Kentucky Derby prep. That prompted Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to go to the bullpen for Tamarando, who is based at Santa Anita.
Russell Baze, the regular rider of Exit Stage Left, rode Tamarando for the first time in the El Camino Real Derby and guided the stretch-running son of Bertrando to his third stakes victory.
Tamarando ran down Dance With Fate and jockey Aaron Gryder in the final yards of the 11/8-mile race to win by a half-length in 1:51.23. Enterprising, the 6-to-5 favorite ridden by Gary Stevens, finished third, 21/4 lengths behind Dance With Fate.
"He was laying closer than normal for him and doing it within himself," Baze said. "I had to ask him to start moving at the three-eighths pole because I knew they had a lot of horse in front of us. He got me right up there to them and then had enough to push by that horse at the finish line.
"My horse was moving pretty good, but that horse on the lead (Dance With Fate) wasn't coming back. He ran all the way to the wire. It took a good horse to run him down and this is a good horse."
Hollendorfer, who also saddled fourth-place finisher Puppy Manners in the El Camino Real Derby, said he knew Tamarando would be tough.
"This horse runs well every time we race him," Hollendorfer said. "Even before Exit Stage Left got hurt we talked about running him in this race."
Tamarando, the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.60 to win. Owned and bred by Larry and Marianne Williams, Tamarando earned $120,000 for the victory and has made $625,120 in 10 starts.
Dance With Fate, trained by Peter Eurton, has run second in three stakes in his seven-race career.
"He was on the bridle a little more than I would have liked," Gryder said. "If I could have gotten him to save a little more energy early on I think we may have had a different story at the end. But that's all about maturing. These horses keep growing and getting better as they go along. He sure finished well going a mile and an eighth and tried hard, so I think we've got a nice horse."
Enterprising, who ran second to Exit Stage Left in the California Derby, had a smooth trip in the El Camino Real Derby but settled for third.
"We had a great trip," Stevens said. "I'm not so sure he handles this track that well. My horse didn't pick it up for me like I thought he was going to. The race came up pretty much like we planned on paper but the result wasn't what we thought it would be."