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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.’s even-money favorite Drain the Clock dominated his rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Claiborne Farm Swale Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Drain the Clock broke sharply from post 5 under Edgard Zayas and found himself alone on the early lead until a hard-ridden Poppy’s Pride slipped inside to take over command.
The pair raced side-by-side through opening fractions of :22.48 and :45.27 before Drain the Clock ranged up to take the lead midway through the far turn.
Taking a clear advantage by the top of the stretch, Drain the Clock drew off in the stretch to win the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint by 6 1/4 lengths in 1:23.29.
“I’m very impressed,” Zayas said. “He’s just improving every race. He’s such an easy horse to ride. He breaks out of the gate like a rocket and positions himself in a perfect spot, and when it’s time to run, he kicks on. He’s a really nice horse. I think he’s maturing a lot. He’s running way more straight and more focused into the race. Sometimes inside the gate, he was a little nervous, but today, he was awesome. I think he’s improving; hopefully he can stretch out his speed a little bit more.”
King’s Ovation and Ultimate Badger rallied from the rear to finish second and third, respectively.
Likeable, Poppy’s Pride, and George completed the order of finish.
Drain the Clock’s win was his second of the year following the local 6-furlong Limehouse Stakes and improved his overall record to 4-3-0-0. The 3-year-old Maclean’s Music colt has now earned $91,170 for Slam Dunk Racing (who also bred him), Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael Nentwig.
“Everything will be under consideration,” Joseph Jr. said when asked if he would try the local Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), a 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race on February 27. “We’ll talk to the owners, obviously, but there’s no pressure to push that route. If everything goes good, I’m sure we’ll try it. He looks like he’ll get further.”
Drain the Clock returned $4.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. King’s Ovation brought back $12.20 to place and $6.20 to show, while Ultimate Badger paid $5.20 to show.
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