Rombauer, a winner on turf and placed in a Grade 1 on dirt at the age of two, got his first win as a three-year old on the synthetic Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields, when picking up the El Camino Real Derby the previous Saturday.
The son of Twirling Candy, unraced since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, showed why he was the entry observers were most keen to see, with a last-to-first rally in the $101,350 stakes race.
Rombauer caught the race's only female entrant, Javanica, with a storming run down the centre of the track. But showing the competitive nature of Golden Gate Fields' most compelling Winter event, the favourite only got up by a neck. The victory earned him 10 qualifying points for the 1st May Kentucky Derby. adding to the four points he got when he ran second in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park last September.
Kyle Frey settled him at the back, 12 lengths behind 32-1 longshot It's My House, who set a half-mile in :47.81. His best moments came over the final three-eighths, as he picked off rivals and wore down Javanica in the race's closing yards. Jockey Frey was full of praise after the race saying "I'm excited to see where this horse ends up."
However, a word of caution to Triple Crown watchers, the Michael McCarthy trained winner was timed in 1:51.64, the slowest El Camino Real since it became a 1 1/8-mile race in 2009.
Rombauer now has 14 overall Derby qualifying points, placing him sixth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. The El Camino Real Derby victory earned him an expenses-paid, guaranteed berth into the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, on 15th May at Pimlico, a track that, like Golden Gate, is owned by The Stronach Group.