Enterprising, sharp winner of the Eddie Logan Stakes over the Santa Anita Park turf last time out, takes on undefeated local favorite Exit Stage Left in the $100,000 California Derby Jan. 18 at Golden Gate Fields.
Glen Hill Farm's homebred Enterprising is the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile test over the Tapeta racing surface, while Exit Stage Left is pegged at 5-2. Eight 3-year-olds are entered for the main prep to next month's El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate. The Cal Derby is race 7 with a 3:45 p.m. PST scheduled post.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Enterprising was making his stakes debut in the one-mile Eddie Logan Dec. 28. The son of Elusive Quality stalked the pace along the inside for jockey Gary Stevens before rallying off the fence in the final furlong to post a three-quarter length victory at odds of 9-5.
It was the second straight win for the bay colt, who broke is maiden in his second start Nov. 16 over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf. Enterprising ran seventh in his debut on dirt at Santa Anita. Aaron Gryder takes the call on Enterprising, who drew the rail and will carry top weight of 122 pounds.
Enterprising has had two published workouts for Proctor on the Santa Anita main track since the Eddie Logan, most recently posting a handy five-furlong drill in 1:01 4/5 Jan. 13.
Hall of Fame conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer sends out Exit Stage Left, who won both of his races to date in stakes company as a juvenile at Golden Gate. The most recent start for the New Jersey-bred by Noonmark was in the listed Gold Rush Stakes Dec. 7 at one mile, which he won by one length in spite of showing some greenness in the stretch drive.
Hollendorfer, who also enter Puppy Manners in the Cal Derby, owns Exit Stage Left in partnership with Mark Dedomenico after paying $100,000 for him at the Barretts March 2-year-olds in training sale. Russell Baze rides the chestnut colt once again. They will also carry 122 from post 2.
Puppy Manners (10-1), owned by another Hollendorfer partnership, has won his past two starts after five unsuccessful tries at the maiden special weight level. He is coming off a a 1 1/4-length tally in an allowance/optional claiming heat at six furlongs Dec. 29, three weeks after graduating at a mile. Frank Alvarado, who rode the Kitten's Joy colt last time, retains the mount.
Royal Banker, second in the Eddie Logan, also ventures north for the California Derby and is 3-1 on the morning line. The British-bred colt was third in the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) a month earlier at Hollywood Park in his United States debut for trainer Eoin Harty and Wounded Warrior Stables. A maiden winner in England, all four of his prior starts have been on grass. Kevin Krigger will be aboard Royal Banker, who starts from the far outside post.
Argyle Cut, a colt by Harlington trained by William E. Morey, was second in the Golden Rush while finishing willingly. Sporting a 1-2-1 mark in four starts, he is an 8-1 chance with David Carr in the irons.
Hunch players will gravitate to Harbaugh (10-1), named for the San Francisco 49ers head coach who will lead his team into the National Football League conference finals against Seattle a day after the Cal Derby.
The Kentucky-bred son of Brother Derek was named by his original owners, Rustin and Juliana Kretz (Kretz Racing), big-time 49ers fans. The colt was claimed out of his second start, a maiden race he won at Santa Anita Oct. 27, for $30,000. Now trained by Doug O'Neill for R3 Racing, Ron Manzani, and Jason Wood, he comes off a starter allowance win Dec. 15 at 1 1/16 miles on the Hollywood turf.
$100,000 California Derby (Race 7, 3:45 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Enterprising (FL), A T Gryder, 122, T F Proctor, 2/1
2. Exit Stage Left (NJ), R A Baze, 122, J Hollendorfer, 5/2
3. Morally Bankrupt (GB), L Mawing, 116, D Greenman, 15/1
4. Harbaugh (KY), J J Hernandez, 116, D F O'Neill, 10/1
5. Infosec (CA), I D Enriquez, 116, F Lucarelli, 20/1
6. Argyle Cut (KY), D Carr, 116, W E Morey, 8/1
7. Puppy Manners (KY), F T Alvarado, 116, J Hollendorfer, 10/1
8. Royal Banker (GB), K Krigger, 116, E G Harty, 3/1