INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Left alone on the lead, Aggie Engineer proved impossible to catch in Saturday's $100,000 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park.
The result left winning jockey Joe Talamo surprised. He expected someone to challenge Aggie Engineer on the lead, but was never bothered, winning the Grade 3 Native Diver by 1 3/4 lengths over Spurrier.
"Every time you think you're the lone speed, someone sends," Talamo said. "He's such a nice horse. I just sat on him the whole race."
Dakota Phone, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 6, could only finish fourth, never threatening the winner.
Aggie Engineer set slow early fractions of 25.55 and 50.52 seconds, and ran the first six furlongs in 1:15.49, leading by a length to early stretch. Talamo urged Aggie Engineer clear in the stretch and led by three lengths at the eighth pole. Aggie Engineer ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.04, winning the first stakes of his career. He paid $8 to win.
"I thought Dakota Phone or Spurrier would be a threat," Talamo said.
Spurrier closed from sixth in a field of seven to finish a half-length in front of Soul Candy, the winner of the California Cup Classic on Oct. 30. Aggie Engineer and Soul Candy are trained by Paddy Gallagher.
Aggie Engineer, a gelding by E Dubai, was second in the restricted Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar last July, his best finish in a stakes before the Native Diver.
Owned by breeders Ward and Roberta Williford of Dallas, Aggie Engineer, 5, has won 6 of 16 starts and $268,280.