by Garnet Barnsdale
Friday night’s fourth race at The Meadowlands looked like an interesting race on paper, with seemingly three strong contenders in the conditioned trot for 3 to 5-year-olds non-winners of 2/3 lifetime. The Burke Brigade was sending out Southwind Cobra – who took a mark of 1:53.3 in the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile as a freshman in 2016. The son of Muscle Hill out of the Broadway Hall mare Caerphilly earned back all but $17,000 of his $120,000 purchase price as a rookie trotter and he produced a final quarter of :27.2 in his 1:57 qualifying win on April 15.
Top Flight Angel, from the first crop of Archangel, out of the SJs Photo mare Top Photo, took his only two wins of his rookie campaign at the end of the season, finishing off his rookie campaign with victories in the Excel A at Batavia and the New York Sires Stakes Consolation at Batavia. His 1:56.2 qualifying win at the Meadowlands on April 15 signalled he was ready to start his sophomore season.
Neither of these promising colts were favored, however, and it was a colt making only his second start that took went off as a slight 6-5 favorite to Southwind Cobra’s 8-5 odds, and this colt, Enterprise, caused a buzz on social media with his 3-year-old debut performance in this race. Enterprise was initially bought for $100,000 at the Lexington Select sale, but he was bought privately by current owners Courant Inc. of Florida in January off his lone win in December at Harrah’s Philly – a nine-and-a-half-length score in 1:58.1.
In Friday night’s race, after blasting to the front early, Enterprise was overtaken just past the :28.3 first quarter by Southwind Cobra. Within a few strides of relinquishing command, it appeared that Enterprise was getting doubled up in the pocket, so driver Tim Tetrick re-took the lead the guided Enterprise through a :57.3 half and 1:26.2 three-quarters. With Top Flight Angel attempting a first-over challenge and Southwind Cobra gapping the pocket, Enterprise easily maintained a two-and-a-quarter length advantage to the wire, trotting the fastest quarter (:28) of the race with Tetrick never lifting his whip off his right shoulder.
Enterprise – by Chapter Seven out of the SJs Caviar mare Shes Gone Again – reached the wire in 1:54.2 which is a national season’s mark for 3-year-old trotters and he started the social media population buzzing to the point where some were predicting he would win the Hambletonian after having won only two races from two starts.
While Walner and others are sure to have something to say about that, the buzz surrounding this promising colt seems deserved based on the manner in which he won Friday night and the obvious upside he has, being so lightly-raced. Keep your eye on Enterprise!