Grade 1 Winner Runs 6F in 1:08.63 Off the Layoff
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Slam Dunk Racing and Madaket Stable’s Drain the Clock made an eye-catching return to action Friday at Gulfstream Park with a sizzling front-running victory in the Race 7 feature, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up.
The Grade 1 stakes winner, who hadn’t seen racing action since finishing fourth in the Aug. 28 H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga, set fractions of 22.08, 44.42 and 56.19 seconds while under heavy outside pressure from Gatsby and asserted his class in the stretch to win by a half-length in a quick 1:08.63.
“At the top of the stretch, I said, ‘Go on Champ!’ Normally, I watch a race and watch it very nervous. With him, I never thought he would get beat,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “I don’t think we have him fully cranked, so to see him back like that…”
Tyler Gaffalione rode Drain the Clock for the first time Friday.
“There was speed on the inside and outside of us. Saffie told me to use him going away from there. He broke alertly and put himself in a great spot. He took a lot of pressure the whole way around there but he’s a classy horse, very classy individual, and he responded when I asked him,” Gaffalione said.
“He’s a racehorse. You can see on his form, he’s very consistent. He shows up every time. Coming off the layoff, it’s not an ideal situation taking that much pressure, but he handled everything great and Saffie always does a great job getting them ready.
Sent to post as the 2-5 favorite, the 4-year-old son of Maclean’s Music had won three races in four prior starts at Gulfstream, including last season’s Swale (G3), before hitting the road to win the Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct and the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont. His only loss at Gulfstream came in a second-place finish in the two-turn Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2).
“I think he’s going to have a big year,” said Joseph, who mentioned the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) on Feb. 19 as a likely target.
Gatsby held second, 5 ¼ lengths ahead of Where Paradise Lay.
Todd Pletcher-trained Nocturnal, the 2-1 second choice who was out of action since a Feb. 28 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, was never a factor after breaking a step slowly from his rail post position.
Press Release Gulfstream Park
Photo Courtesy of Gulfstream Park