Made the favorite in his turf debut Sunday at Santa Anita Park, 2003 juvenile champion Action This Day failed to fire while finishing ninth in the 11-horse field.
Ridden by David Flores for trainer Richard Mandella and owner B. Wayne Huges, the 3-year-old son of Kris S. raced from off the pace in the $72,848 one-mile allowance test while saving ground, but never got into contention.
Sent off at odds of 7-2, Action This Day has now failed to hit the board in five consecutive races since his stirring come-from-behind victory in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
The 5-1 second choice in the field, Running Free ($12.60), ridden by Mike Smith, held off Super Strut and Rene Douglas by nose for the victory.
Two races later, a game Whilly wore down We All Love Aleyna and pacesetting Cozy Guy for a three-quarters of a length win in the $112,700 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.
Ridden by Felipe Martinez, Irish-bred Whilly completed the eight furlong event in 1:34 3/5 and paid $10.40, $5.60 and $3.60 as the fourth choice in a field of nine. Trained by Doug O'Neill, the son of Sri Pekan earned $67,620 for owner Paul Boghossian and his sons Paul and Christoper, who race as Triple B Farms.
The victory was his sixth in 12 career starts and increased his earnings to $235,622. Since transferring from Italy, the bay colt has won two of five starts in the United States.
We All Love Aleyna returned $12.80 and $6, while Cozy Guy was $3.40 to show.
Also on the big opening day card, Uncle Denny remained unbeaten in three starts by taking the $138,625 California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-old state breds in gate-to-wire fashion.
Ridden by Douglas, the son of In Excess
won by three-quarters of a length as the 9-5 favorite in the field of eight, completing the seven furlongs in 1:22 3/5.
Rafael Becerra trains the winner, who picked up $83,175 for owner Stan E. Fulton of Las Vegas. He paid $5.60, $4 and $2.80.
Iced Out returned $8 and $4.80 while finishing two lengths ahead of Lucky J.H. ($4).