A $50,000 claim by Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler out of his debut at Santa Anita Park in February—when he finished sixth, 20 lengths behind the winner—the 3-year-old Midnight Lute gelding has won six of his eight starts since (with $231,045 in earnings), including his first stakes score Sunday in the $100,000 Cary Grant for California-breds.
"He's probably the claimer of the year, wouldn't you say?" said Sadler, who said he will nominate Edwards Going Left to the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.
Under the guidance of jockey Tyler Baze in the seven-furlong Cary Grant, Edwards Going Left got an ideal stalking trip in seventh early, about two lengths behind a four-way battle for the lead between California Diamond, Prime Issue, Green With Eddie, and Smokey Image.
After the first quarter in :22.28 and a half-mile in :44.65, Edwards Going Left made a five-wide move around the front-runners in the final turn and took command in the stretch. But two-time defending Cary Grant winner Solid Wager, who was as many as 11 lengths off the leaders early, was storming home late on the outside. Edwards Going Left dug in and repelled the challenge to hold on for a half-length victory at the wire. The final time was 1:22.98.
"I just wanted to keep him in the clear today—not let him get in trouble," Baze said. "I could feel that horse coming. I've never hit this horse right handed, because he tends to lug in. But I hit him right handed and I think it surprised him. It gave him that little bump he needed to get there. It was a good race for him. He likes to win."
It was the sixth stakes placing for Solid Wager, to go along with three stakes wins, in his 39-race career.
"I was fine with where I was (early in the race)," said Solid Wager's jockey, Victor Espinoza. "I knew he'd come running. And I thought I was going to catch that horse up front. My horse was moving, but the leader just wouldn't slow down."
Smokey Image gamely held third after the contentious speed battle, a nose in front of California Diamond. Tribal Storm, Gold Rush Dancer, Prime Issue, Love My Bud, Jimmy Bouncer, and Green With Eddie completed the order of finish.