Last at the top of the stretch, favored Enterprising unleashed a torrid closing kick on the far outside to win the $116,700 Oceanside Stakes on the opening day of the 2014 summer meet at Del Mar (WATCH VIDEO).
Ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, Enterprising nailed Argyle Cut just before the wire to win by a neck in the one-mile test for 3-year-olds over Del Mar's new and widened Bermuda turf course, finishing in 1:33.89 on firm going. Pacesetter Home School, who yielded to Argyle Cut past mid-stretch, edged stablemate Sammy Mandeville for third in the field of 11.
Tom Proctor trains Enterprising, a son of Elusive Quality out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Blaze, for owner Glen Hill Farm, which bred the bay colt in Florida.
Sent off at 5-2 odds, Enterprising registered his third stakes victory after earlier taking the Eddie Logan in December and the Pasadena March 22, both over the Santa Anita Park turf. He was coming off a third-place finish in the the nine-furlong La Puente Stakes April 19 and is now 4-for-4 at the one-mile distance on grass.
The Oceanside, traditionally the summer meet opener for the Del Mar stand, is a prep for the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 9 and the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Aug. 31.
Irish-bred Home School provided a sensible pace with Tyler Baze aboard, leading by about a length over Love Rules All and G. G. Ryder through quarter-mile splits of :23.07, :46.16, and 1:10.28. Argyle Cut was tucked in mid-pack at the rail before angling out between horses rounding the final bend.
As Home School began to falter a bit past the furlong mark, Argyle Cut and Corey Nakatani were there to take advantage on Home School's outside, opening a slight edge as they drove for home. But Enterprising, unfurling his successful charge while five wide, came home powerfully under left-handed urging from Smith to get up just in time.
It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Home School, who was a nose better than Sammy Mandeville, who drew into the race after two earlier scratches. Both are trained by Doug O'Neill.
Scratched were Yard Line and Diamond Bachelor.
Enterprising improved his career line to 4-1-2 in eight starts with earnings of $244,650 and paid $7.80, $4.20, and $3.80 across the board while carrying 121 pounds. Argyle Cut, the 9-2 third choice, returned $4.60 and $3, completing a $34.80 exacta. Home School, group-placed in Ireland and seeking his first win in the United States after seven starts, paid $6.20 to show in a good effort.
Enterprising is the first foal to race for his dam, Indy Blaze, who sold to Glen Hill Farm for $975,000 through consignor Denali Stud, agent, at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling auction. Enterprising has a 2-year-old half sister by Stormy Atlantic that has yet to start.
According to Equibase figures, 42,021 patrons were on hand for the first of 36 days of live racing, a decline of 2.3% from last year's 43,030 figure for opening day.
Boosted by an increase in intra-state simulcast wagering, all-sources wagering Thursday totaled $14,858,277, up over the $14,682,277 for the comparable day a year ago. On-track wagering fell from $4,395,595 in 2013 to $4,237,043 this year, intra-state wagering rose from $2,179,544 to $2,589,762, and out-of-state simulcasting was down from $8,107,533 to $8,031,472.