Exit Stage Left pulls away late to win the Gold Rush Stakes.

Exit Stage Left pulls away late to win the Gold Rush Stakes.

Vassar Photography

Exit Stage Left Stays Unbeaten in Gold Rush

Two-year-old son of Noonmark wins second stakes for Hollendorfer at Golden Gate.

Exit Stage Left earned his second stakes victory in as many starts when he came from just off the pace to capture the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes as the 3-5 pick Dec. 7 at Golden Gate Fields (VIDEO).

A game winner of the six-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes Nov. 9, Exit Stage Left defeated Argyle Cut by one length in the one-mile Gold Rush.  Exit Stage Left was timed in 1:38.53 on the Tapeta track and paid $3.20 as the heavy favorite in a field of five.

Jockey Russell Baze said Exit Stage Left was a bit aggressive in his first race around two turns but was pleased with the colt's performance.

"This was only his second start and he's still putting it all together," said the Hall of Fame rider. "He's a very talented colt and he's got tons of potential. Mentally, he's not real mature. He kind of wants to fight me a little bit. But he's very responsive when I ask him. He's got a real good move."

Exit Stage Left raced in third down the backstretch and around the far turn, stalking leaders Pete's Slew and Rockford through fractions of :24.08, :49.10, and 1:13.87. Baze turned Exit Stage Left loose at the top of the stretch and the New Jersey-bred son of Noonmark responded to Baze's urging to gain the lead inside the eighth pole.

"I was surprised he had that good of a move today because he was pulling on me pretty hard the first half-mile," said Baze.

Exit Stage Left is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who said the key to future success with Exit Stage Left will be getting the horse to relax early and focus more down the stretch.

"He's a very talented horse but we have a lot of work to do with him to get him to relax the first part of it," said the Hall of Fame conditioner. "He also was looking around down the lane. But we've asked him to do a lot. Most young horses couldn't do that so I'm very pleased with him. I'm glad he showed his talent."

Hollendorfer purchased Exit Stage Left for $100,000 at the Barretts March 2-year-olds in training sale and races him in partnership with longtime client Mark Dedomenico. Exit Stage Left has earned $75,350 in his two races.

The trainer said Exit Stage Left will likely make his 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 California Derby Jan. 18 at Golden Gate Fields. The California Derby is a 1 1/16-mile race.

The Hollendorfer barn had three winners at Golden Gate Fields Saturday, also scoring with Puppy Manners ($8.60) in the fourth race and Worldly Lad ($3.40) in the sixth.

Hollendorfer had a big day at Betfair Hollywood Park, where he won the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. II) with Broken Sword ($17.80) and took second in the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) with Taste Like Candy.