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Exit Stage Left Heads Cast Of Six In Gold Rush Stakes
Exit Stage Left and Unusual Americaine, who ran one-two in a photo finish in the Golden Nugget Stakes on Nov. 9, are among the six 2-year-olds entered in the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes.
The Gold Rush, a one-mile race on Tapeta, will be run Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The stakes serves as a steppingstone to the $100,000 California Derby, which will contested on Jan. 18.
The six-furlong Golden Nugget produced a blanket finish as Exit Stage Left prevailed by a neck over Unusual Americaine, who took second by a nose over Miss Success. Pete’s Slew, who led by 1 1/2 lengths in midstretch before weakening to finish fourth (beaten a length by Exit Stage Left), is also back for the Gold Rush
Exit Stage Left, a New Jersey-bred colt who was purchased for $100,000, made his career debut in the Golden Nugget and his inexperience showed when he overreacted to jockey Russell Baze’s touch midway around the turn.
“It started to tighten up and I took just a little hold and he propped,” said Baze, who saw his horse slip back more than two lengths behind the leaders. “He was good enough to overcome it.”
Exit Stage Left rallied down the stretch to win the Golden Nugget for the fans that made him an even-money favorite and for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who owns the horse in partnership with longtime client Mark DeDomenico.
Exit Stage Left is one of four runners that will be trying two turns for the first time Saturday. The others are Unusual Americaine, Pete’s Slew and Mr. Discipline, who won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden allowance dash in his career debut on Nov. 9.
Gold Rush entrants Argyle Cut and Rockford both broke their maidens racing a mile on the Golden Gate Fields turf in their most recent outings. Argyle Cut finished a troubled second to Rockford when that gelding broke his maiden on Sept. 13 and then came back to post a convincing victory on Oct. 24 under jockey Dennis Carr.
Carr, who rode Pete’s Slew in the Golden Nugget and guided Mr. Discipline and Rockford to their maiden wins, is sticking with Argyle Cut for the Gold Rush.
The field for the Gold Rush, in post position order with riders, is as follows: Pete’s Slew, Frank Alvarado; Rockford, Juan Hernandez; Unusual Americaine, Alejandro Gomez; Argyle Cut, Carr; Mr. Discipline, Kevin Krigger; and Exit Stage Left, Baze.
All of the starters will carry 120 pounds.
The Gold Rush is carded as the third race on a nine-race program and will be run at approximately 1:45 p.m. First post Saturday is 12:45 p.m.
Golden Gate Fields kicks off its racing week Thursday with a seven-race program. Post time is 12:45 p.m.