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Exit Stage Left Improves To 2-For-2 With Win In Gold Rush Stakes
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 at Golden Gate Fields.
A game winner of the six-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes on 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 and paid $3.20 as the heavy 2-5 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 Baze. “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. Baze turned Exit Stage Left loose at the top of the stretch and the New Jersey-bred 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 Hollendorfer. “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 Sale and races him in partnership with longtime client Mark DeDomenico. Exit Stage Left has earned $75,350 in his two races.
Hollendorfer said Exit Stage Left will likely make his 3-year-old debut – horses celebrate their birthdays on Jan. 1 – in the $100,000 California Derby on 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 as it also scored 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 Grade 3 $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes with Broken Sword ($17.80) and took second in the Grade 1 $500,000 Hollywood Starlet with Taste Like Candy.
Racing will resume at Golden Gate Fields Sunday. Post time is 12:45 p.m. and general parking, general admission, beers, hot dogs and sodas cost just $1 each.