San Francisco Chronicle

Chase the Chaos wins El Camino Real Derby

- By Larry Stumes Larry Stumes is a freelance writer.

Prior to Saturday’s $101,350 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, trainer Ed Moger Jr. said Chase the Chaos was “a really good horse, like a Derby horse” while insisting he didn’t necessaril­y mean Kentucky Derby.

Moger didn’t even nominate Chase the Chaos to the Triple Crown at a cost of $600 by the Jan. 28 early deadline.

But after Chase the Chaos used his customary finishing kick to win the El Camino Real Derby by 1½ lengths over the Bob Baffert-trained favorite Gilmore, Moger and coowner Bill Dory have expanded their expectatio­ns. The next nomination deadline is March 27, and the price jumps to $6,000.

“We’ll definitely pay the $6,000,” Dory said. “I’ve owned horses for 20 years, small time, so to get a horse like this, I’m over the moon. It’s a dream.”

Chase the Chaos won one of two starts last summer at Canterbury Park in Minnesota before Dory sent him to Moger at Golden Gate Fields. The 3-yearold gelding finished third in the 6-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes and second in the 1-mile Gold Rush Stakes before powering to a 7½-length victory in a 1mile allowance race.

“I’ve been high on this horse every time he’s run,” Moger said. “He’s definitely the best 3-yearold I’ve ever had.”

Chase the Chaos went off the 4-1 third choice in the El Camino Real Derby’s field of eight, with Gilmore the 8-5 favorite and Gold Rush Stakes winner Passarando at 7-2.

Baffert’s other entrant, Nullarbor, sped to a long lead down the backstretc­h of the 11⁄8-mile race as Harcyn — coming off two wire-to-wire sprint wins — ran 5½ lengths behind in second. Meanwhile, Chase the Chaos ran in fifth place while inside and behind horses and briefly dropped back to sixth — 10 lengths from the lead — as jockey Armando Ayuso tried to find some running room on the second turn.

Chase the Chaos began his rally surging between horses and moved outside Nullarbor and Harcyn in early stretch, then powered to the wire ahead of Gilmore. Harcyn finished another length back in third — a fine effort given his first try past 6 furlongs — with Passarando fourth and Nullarbor fifth.

“It was a little bit tight in the beginning, but as soon as he got clear, he did everything like he’s done before,” Ayuso said. “He just took off.”

Chase the Chaos finished in 1:51.68 and earned $60,000 to push his total to $123,000 for Dory and partner Adam Ference. Dory originally purchased Chase the Chaos for $10,000 as a weanling in 2019.

The big bay gelding also earned 10 qualifying points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby plus an automatic berth in the Preakness. He’ll need to earn more points to make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

“Ed and I will talk about this so we can plan it out,” Dory said. “I definitely have Derby Fever.”

 ?? Vassar Photograph­y ?? Chase The Chaos, with jockey Armando Ayuso up, wins the El Camino Real Derby in Albany.
Vassar Photograph­y Chase The Chaos, with jockey Armando Ayuso up, wins the El Camino Real Derby in Albany.

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