11/09/2013 8:53PM

Golden Gate Fields: Exit Stage Left wins Golden Nugget in debut

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Vassar Photgraphy
Exit Stage Left is driven to the wire by Russell Baze to take a blanket finish in the Golden Nugget on Saturday.

First-timer Exit Stage Left had an adventurous trip in Saturday’s $53,350 Golden Nugget Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, but it all turned out well for him.

Exit Stage Left was three wide in a four-way pace duel down the backstretch of the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds. When things tightened up heading into the turn, Russell Baze tried to ease him back.

“It got a little bit tight,” said Baze. “When I took hold, he propped and stuck his toes in and backed out.”

But the Noonmark colt quickly regained his stride and was still fourth heading into the lane as Pete’s Slew began to assume control of the race. Exit Stage Left responded to Baze’s urging and unleashed a strong kick, wearing down Pete’s Slew while holding off Unusual Americaine to his inside and Miss Success to his outside to win by a neck in 1:11.03. He paid $4.

Unusual Americaine was second, a nose in front of Miss Success, the only filly in the race. Pete’s Slew was fourth, another three-quarters of a length back.

“He’s a quality individual,” said Baze, who added that the $100,000 March Barretts purchase had worked well in the morning. “I think we’ll see good things from him.”

Exit Stage Left earned $30,350 while winning his debut for Mark DeDomenico and Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains him.