Enterprising (outside) and Argyle Cut finished a neck apart in the Oceanside.

Enterprising (outside) and Argyle Cut finished a neck apart in the Oceanside.

Benoit Photo

La Jolla On Tap as Del Mar Returns to Turf

Enterprising, Argyle Cut renew rivalry after tight finish in opening-day Oceanside.

Enterprising and Argyle Cut, separated by a neck when first and second, respectively, in the opening day Oceanside Stakes, square off again as turf racing returns to Del Mar Aug. 9 in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT).

The 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds attracted a small field of six. The fifth on the card with a 4 p.m. PDT tentative post time, it is one of three turf heats scheduled Saturday after an absence of grass racing since Aug. 1.

The temporary cancellation of racing on the newly installed grass course came as the result of numerous breakdowns during the first two weeks of the popular summer meet that began July 17. Four horses have been euthanized as a result of accidents and a fifth was seriously injured in a race July 31, leading to the decision.

The extra time gave Del Mar an opportunity to perform a second extensive aeration of the surface followed by heavy watering in an attempt to soften the course's hard spots. The portable rail has been moved out to 24 feet so that horses will be competing on fresh sod.

Glen Hill Farm homebred Enterprising seemed quite at home on the turf course July 17 when he rallied from last in the field of 11 in the one-mile Oceanside to get up at the wire as a lukewarm favorite. A four-time winner in eight career starts for trainer Tom Proctor, the bay colt by Elusive Quality previously captured both the Pasadena and Eddie Logan stakes on the turf at Santa Anita Park.

Mike Smith, who rode Enterprising for the first time in the Oceanside, has the return call from post 6 with top weight of 122 pounds. They'll spot the remainder of the field from three to eight pounds.

Argyle Cut was unfortunate to lose the Oceanside, getting the lead past the eighth pole after advancing from mid-pack. The Kentucky-bred son of Harlington was also a close second in the Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita a month earlier and raced successfully in Northern California before that. Trained by William E. Morey for the Joseph P. Morey Revocable Trust, Argyle Cut has a 2-6-1 mark from 10 lifetime starts. Corey Nakatani retains the mount from the inside post.

Also coming out of the Oceanside is fourth-place finisher Sammy Mandeville, who was defeated by 1 1/2 lengths after breaking through the gate prior to the start. Trained by Doug O'Neill for W. C. Racing, the Rock Hard Ten colt was making his stakes debut and just his fourth start overall. Rafael Bejarano is back aboard.

O'Neill also sends out I'll Wrap It Up, fifth in his most recent race, an allowance/optional claimer July 19 over the course. The gray Tapit  gelding will race with blinkers.

Amerman Racing's Schoolofhardrocks was fourth as the favorite in the American Derby (gr. IIIT) July 12 at Arlington International Racecourse. Trained by David Hofmans, he was stakes-placed on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in May. He will be reunited with Martin Garcia, who guided the Rock Hard Ten colt to an allowance win two starts back.

Tonito M., most recently third for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) July 5, is making his turf debut.

The La Jolla is an important prep for the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs Aug. 31.

Entries: La Jolla H. (G3T)

Del Mar, Saturday, August 09, 2014, Race 5

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:09 PM (local)
11Argyle Cut (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey S. Nakatani119William E. Morey-
22Schoolofhardrocks (KY)Martin Garcia117David E. Hofmans-
33I'll Wrap It Up (KY)Elvis Trujillo114Doug F. O'Neill-
44Sammy Mandeville (KY)Rafael Bejarano115Doug F. O'Neill-
55Tonito M. (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza119Jerry Hollendorfer-
66Enterprising (FL)Mike E. Smith122Thomas F. Proctor-