Enterprising will attempt to become the fourth horse in Del Mar history to sweep the 3-year-old grass series for males when he tackles seven opponents in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Aug. 31.
Glen Hill Farm's Florida homebred son of Elusive Quality won the opening-day Oceanside by a neck July 17 before returning in the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) Aug. 9 with a 1 1/4-length triumph. The Tom Proctor trainee was favored in both races.
Enterprising looks to join Lightning Mandate (1974), Ladies Din (1998), and Blackdoun (2004) as the only ones to sweep the three-race series.
The nine-furlong Del Mar Derby is race 9 on the Sunday card at Del Mar, joined on the bill by the $100,000 Torrey Pine Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at a mile. The Del Mar Derby is tentatively set for a 6 p.m. PDT post.
To be ridden by Mike Smith, a stakes-winning juggernaut at Del Mar this season, Enterprising drew post 5. Smith replaced Gary Stevens aboard the bay colt as Stevens underwent surgery to have a knee replacement.
Enterprising, who came from well off the pace in both the Oceanside and La Jolla, has done little wrong during a nine-race career that includes five victories, a second, and two thirds for earnings of $334,650. His only off-the-board effort came in his debut on dirt against maidens last October at Santa Anita Park when he finished seventh. He's been especially tough on turf, winning five of six starts.
Only the improving Sammy Mandeville emerges from the previous two races to take on Enterprising again. W. C. Racing's Rock Hard Ten colt was a closing third in the La Jolla for trainer Doug O'Neill, beaten by 1 3/4 lengths. He ran fourth in the Oceanside in his stakes debut after breaking through the gate prior to the start. Rafael Bejarano is back aboard from the far outside post.
After giving a good account of himself in two New York starts, Flamboyant is back on the West Coast for trainer Paddy Gallagher and has Joel Rosario shipping cross-country to ride him again. David Bienstock and Chuck Winner's French-bred son of Peer Gynt won the listed La Puente in April at the Del Mar Derby distance by neck over Home Run Kitten and Enterprising at Santa Anita.
Shipped to Belmont Park, Flamboyant missed by neck when a game second to Gala Award in the 1 1/18-mile Pennine Ridge Stakes five weeks after the La Puente. He followed that effort with a third-place finish in the $1.25 million Belmont Derby (gr. IT) July 5, 3 3/4 lengths behind standout Mr Speaker .
Tarabilla Farms' Home Run Kitten bounced out of the La Puente with a pair of grass wins at Santa Anita for trainer David Hofmans. The Kitten's Joy colt won an allowance/optional claiming race at a mile before returning June 21 to capture the Singletary Stakes, also at a mile. This would be his first start since. Joe Talamo retains the mount from the inside post.
An import of interest is first-time United States starter Aventador, group-placed in France and now racing for trainer Darrell Vienna. The son of Zafeen, owned by Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal, comes off a stakes win at Compiegne and will have Elvis Trujillo aboard.
Also transferring from France for his U.S. debut is Hronis Racing's Talco, an allowance-winning son of Pivotal who comes off a second in a minor stakes at Deauville. Three-time Del Mar Derby-winning trainer John Sadler, who took a division of last year's race with Ethnic Dance, tabs Corey Nakatani for the ride.
Completing the field are last-out allowance winners Sawyer's Hill and Midnight Storm.
Del Mar, Sunday, August 31, 2014, Race 9
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Home Run Kitten (KY) Joseph Talamo 122 David E. Hofmans - 2 2Sawyer's Hill (KY) Martin Garcia 122 Kristin Mulhall - 3 3Midnight Storm (KY) Tyler Baze 122 Philip D'Amato - 4 4Talco (FR) Corey S. Nakatani 122 John W. Sadler - 5 5Enterprising (FL) Mike E. Smith 122 Thomas F. Proctor - 6 6Aventador (FR) Elvis Trujillo 122 Darrell Vienna - 7 7Flamboyant (FR) Joel Rosario 122 Patrick Gallagher - 8 8Sammy Mandeville (KY) Rafael Bejarano 122 Doug F. O'Neill -
Del Mar, Sunday, August 31, 2014, Race 9