Unleashing an electric burst of speed, Glen Hill Farm’s classy Enterprising, the 3-2 favorite under Hall of Famer Mike Smith, blew away his opposition in the stretch to win Saturday’s featured 74th running of the Grade II $150,000 La Jolla Handicap.
According to calculations after the race, Enterprising ran his final five-sixteenths amazingly fast, in approximately 28 seconds, while rallying from far back to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:41.31 for the mile and one-sixteenth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
I’ll Wrap It Up, the longest shot in the field of six three-year-olds at 15-1, was runner-up, a half-length in front of Sammy Mandeville, with early pacemaker Schoolofhardrocks fading to fourth. Tonito M. and Argyle Cut completed the line-up in the final steppingstone to the Grade II $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, August 31.
Enterprising, a Florida-bred son of Elusive Quality trained by Tom Proctor, won the opening-day $100,000 Oceanside Stakes and looms a solid favorite to sweep Del Mar’s series for three-year-olds in the Del Mar Derby.
Aside from a seventh-place finish in his career debut last October, Enterprising has never been worse than third in eight subsequent races while winning five times.
First money of $90,000 increased the bay colt’s earnings to $234,650.
The winner returned $5, $3.80 and $2.80, while I’ll Wrap It Up paid $10.00 and $4 and third-place Sammy Mandeville returned $4.20 to show.
MIKE SMITH (Enterprising, winner) – “Last sixteenth in less than six (seconds)! Wow! Are you serious. He was cookin’. He really got to going between the eighth and the sixteenth (poles). Very impressive race. Even more impressive than his last (the one-mile Oceanside in which he closed to win from 12 lengths back) because he was going farther. This race really sets him up for the next one (nine-furlong Del Mar Derby August 31).”
ELVIS TRUJILLO (I’ll Wrap It Up, second) – “This was a really good race for him. He came running. The farther the better for him.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Sammy Mandeville, third) – “He had a bad experience last time; he broke through the gate (in the Oceanside on July 17). I just had to be quiet with him early. Then he was running late. A good race for him.”
MARTIN GARCIA (Schoolofhardrocks, fourth) – “He really wasn’t trying out there. He’s a better horse than he showed today.”
TOM PROCTOR, (Enterprising, winner) – “Whether you’re training or riding, it helps to have the horse. Whatever trip you get, if they can run it usually works out. Looks like he’s even a little better than we might have thought. (When far back) I thought it might not be his day, but he ran like a freight train the last eighth of a mile. We’ll see how he is. It (Del Mar Derby) is a possibility.”
FRACTIONS: :23.92 :48.13 1:11.30 1:35.31 1:41.31
The stakes win was the third of the meet for Hall of Fame rider Smith. It was his first in the La Jolla, but his 42nd overall at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for Proctor. It was his first victory in the La Jolla and his 10th overall at Del Mar.
Enterprising was bred in Florida by his owner, the Glen Hill Farm of 94-year-old Leonard Lavin. Much of the farm’s current business is now handled by Lavin’s grandson, Craig Bernick.