HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Grade 1 stakes winner Drain the Clock will seek to regroup in the $100,000 Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park Saturday while making his first start since competing in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on the March 26 Dubai World Cup (G1) undercard at Meydan Racecourse.
“He came back good. He had to fly back to Kentucky because that’s how the flight arrangement was organized. We left him at WinStar, and they took care of him for a month,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He had a little freshening, because the Smile was always the plan to bring him back in.”
The Smile, which offers a $50,000 ‘Win Only’ bonus for Florida-bred runners, will be featured on Saturday’s Summit of Speed program that will be headlined by the $300,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event for fillies and mares.
Drain the Clock, the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, earned Grade 1 credentials last year while defeating Jackie’s Warrior in the Woody Stephens (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
“Our goal right now is to win a Grade 1 with him this year, hopefully,” Joseph said. “Obviously, the Breeders’ Cup is at the end of the year. If he was in good form and he did win a Grade 1 before then, we’d give it a try.”
The Smile is one of 12 graded dirt stakes included in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen, an incentive-based participation bonus program. The winner of the Smile will earn a $30,000 credit toward the entry fee for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 5 at Keeneland. The second-place finisher will earn a $15,000 credit, while the show horse will earn a $7500 credit.
Drain the Clock has won four of six starts at Gulfstream, including a victory in the Swale (G3). The son of Maclean’s Music also stretched out last year to finish second behind Greatest Honour in the Fountain of Youth (G2).
Prior to shipping to Dubai, the Kentucky-bred colt lost a photo finish in his 2022 debut, edged by 2021 Smile Sprint winner Miles Ahead in a swiftly run Gulfstream Park Sprint Feb. 19.
“Right before he went to Dubai, he got beat a head, but he was coming off his best races numbers-wise,” Joseph said.
Drain the Clock recovered from rather slow start to lead the way in the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen before fading to seventh under Irad Ortiz Jr., more than five lengths behind victorious Switzerland.
“He was a little tardy out of the gate, and Irad had to use him a bit to get to the lead. I thought he was in the perfect spot, but he stopped – something he doesn’t usually do,” Joseph said. “He travelled well in the race but just stopped the final eighth. It was a bit shocking to see him do that. The track was playing heavy, because we watched later in the day and Life Is Good looked like he was going to win and he stopped the same way. It was uncharacteristic because when [Drain the Clock] made the lead, I felt really comfortable. I didn’t think he would get beat from there to be honest.”
Edwin Gonzalez will ride Drain the Clock for the first time Saturday.
Lea Farms LLC’s Willy Boi enters the Smile coming off a pair of eye-catching victories – a 7 ½-length optional claiming allowance score going six furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs in his 2022 debut and a 5 ¼-length romp in the seven-furlong Big Drama for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park.
“His last race, we had a little hesitation, because we didn’t know if he was going to like the seven furlongs. I prepared him for that race with a little more gallop every day, and he responded to that all very well,’ trainer Jorge Delgado said. “You could see he was happy out there and showed another trick. He came from second place and came to King Cab, the fastest horse in the race, and he just passed him easily and won by open lengths.”
The 4-year-old son of Uncaptured, who captured the six-furlong Hutcheson during his sophomore campaign, was transferred to Delgado’s stable for his 2022 season,
“The horse is a very smart horse. He’s a mature horse now,” Delgado said. “Now, with age, he’s getting wiser and getting stronger and getting faster. I’m happy to have him. I’m looking forward to his races the rest of the year.”
Chantal Sutherland has the return mount aboard Willy Boi, who is rated second at 5-2 in the morning line.
“Chantal knows the horse really well and she has been fantastic with him,” Delgado said. “She has been doing amazing for my barn.”
Willy Boi is eligible to take down the $50,000 ‘Win Only’ bonus for Florida-bred participants.
“I think there’s more to come,” Delgado said. “He’s getting better.”
Owner Daniel Walters and trainer Rohan Crichton are represented by two entrants in the Smile – Absolute Grit and Yes I’m a Beast
Daniel Walter’s Absolute Grit enters the Smile with four victories in five starts since being claimed for $20,000, The 5-year-old gelding is coming off a seven-length victory in the June 9 Miami Shores Handicap at six furlongs.
Emisael Jaramillo has the return call on the son of Kantharos, who is rated third at 4-1 in the morning line.
Yes I’m a Beast has won five of his last seven starts in claiming and option claiming company. Edgar Perez has been named to ride the son of Big Beast
Trainer Elizabeth Dobles and Imaginary Stable’s Pudding, who finished third in the Miami Shores, is set to return in the Smile. The 7-year-old gelding captured the Sprint Stakes for Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs prior to the Miami Shores.
Arindel’s Gatsby, who captured the Sunshine Sprint for Florida-breds during the Championship Meet; rounds out the field.
Absolute Grit, Yes I’m a Beast, Pudding and Gatsby are also eligible for the $50,000 ‘Win Only’ bonus for Florida-breds.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Drain The Clock (Lauren King Photo)