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ELMONT, NY – Slam Dunk Racing homebred Drain the Clock emptied out the even-money favorite Jackie’s Warrior in deep stretch to pull off the 7/1 upset in Saturday’s $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G1) presented by Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.
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Drain the Clock and jockey Jose Ortiz – replacing brother Irad, who was injured in a spill Thursday – inherited the initial lead from post 2 after Jackie’s Warrior broke poorly and fell back to the rear.
Jackie’s Warrior soon rushed up to take the lead inside of Drain the Clock before posting opening fractions of :22.09 and :44.19 as they raced nearly in step through the far turn.
Jackie’s Warrior began pulling ahead at the top of the stretch, but Drain the Clock battled back and re-engaged the leader near the 1/8 pole.
Edging up to steal command with 1/16 of a mile to go, the Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee crossed a neck clear while completing the 7-furlong good dirt sprint in 1:22.27.
“That’s what it’s all about, people want to come here to see those kinds of duels,” Ortiz said. “It was a great race; everybody gave their best. I’m just happy we came out with the win and I’m happy filling in for Irad and not messing it up. He told me the horse was very classy, Saffie was great, and the owner was great, too. The owner was the one that told me if you can outrun him out of the gate and make him go inside, that would be great, to have him inside of us.”
Nova Rags rallied from last to take third by 3/4 of a length over Dream Shake, the 5/2 second choice who finished a head behind Jackie’s Warrior in the Pat Day Mile (G2) last time out.
Tulane Tryst and Caddo River completed the order of finish in the field restricted to 3-year-olds.
Drain the Clock’s win was his fourth in a stakes and improved his overall record to 8-6-1-0. The Maclean’s Music colt has now earned $539,550 for co-owners Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael Nentwig.
“Jackie’s Warrior missed the break, and after that, he ran up on the inside (of us) and we were in a good spot,” said Joseph Jr. “If we were good enough, then we were going to win. At the 1/4 pole, I thought we were going to be second. It looked like he was backing up a little bit. He dug in after that, and then Jackie’s Warrior wouldn’t give up. All credit to the horse.”
Drain the Clock returned $17 to win, $5.70 to place, and $3.50 to show. Jackie’s Warrior brought back $3 to place and $2.30 to show. Nova Rags paid $4 to show.
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