07/23/2009 12:00AM

Afleet Eagle draws off in Oceanside

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Afleet Eagle was sent from California to Toronto in the spring to start in two synthetic track stakes at Woodbine. He missed both races because of illness.

It turns out his first stakes win occurred where his career started, back in Southern California. Making his stakes and turf debut, Afleet Eagle stormed clear in the final furlong of Wednesday's $112,800 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Afleet Eagle ($14.60) ran a mile on turf in 1:34.35. Always near the front, Afleet Eagle stalked pacesetter Backbackbackgone through early fractions of 23.11 and 47.56 seconds, took the lead on the final turn, and won by 2 1/2 lengths.

Mark S the Cooler closed from fifth to finish second, a head in front of Rendezvous in the field of nine 3-year-olds. Meteore, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth after racing as close as third in early stretch.

Afleet Eagle, a gelding by Northern Afleet, has won 3 of 4 starts and $118,843 for owner-breeder Ron Waranch. The Oceanside was Afleet's Eagle first start since a win in an allowance race at Woodbine on May 3. Earlier this year at Santa Anita, he won a $50,000 claiming race for maidens.

"I'm sure glad we didn't lose him," trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

Cerin said that Afleet Eagle will be pointed for the $350,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6.