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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – While impressive maiden-winning stablemate Collaboarate earned the chance to stretch out for a shot at the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Drain the Clock isn’t expected to join him.
Joseph said Sunday that Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael Nentwig’s Drain the Clock, himself a sharp winner of the 7-furlong Claiborne Farm Swale (G3) January 30 at Gulfstream in his graded debut, would remain at shorter distances for now.
Drain the Clock set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream, his first attempt around two turns, and nearly pulled off the upset before getting reeled in by Holy Bull (G3) winner Greatest Honour.
“Talking to the owners briefly after the race, initially I think we’re going to step back and keep him at one turn. We tried it and I think he handled the mile and 1/16, but I don’t think we’re going to try to push it,” Joseph said. “I think we have a really good horse. I feel like we have a Grade 1 horse and he’s probably going to be best at one turn, so most likely we’re going to stick to one turn.”
The Fountain of Youth was the first loss for Drain the Clock in a race where he finished. He broke his maiden and beat winners in an optional claiming allowance last fall at Gulfstream and Gulfstream Park West, respectively, before losing his rider on the backstretch of the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs. He returned to South Florida and opened his 3-year-old season with a win in the January 3 Limehouse that set him up for the Swale triumph.
Drain the Clock ran splits of 23.66 seconds, 47.18, 1:11.51, and 1:37.45, taking a 2 1/2-length lead into the stretch before Greatest Honour, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, closed stoutly on the outside to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Drain the Clock, second choice in the wagering behind the winner, was 2 lengths clear of 18/1 long shot Papetu in third.
“He looked like a winner at the 1/4 pole, but he got run down by a horse that has a lot of stamina and excellent ability in Shug’s horse. A credit to Shug for the job he’s done with that horse. We lost nothing in defeat. You like to win if you can, but if any horse runs like that, you walk away thankful and happy,” Joseph said. “He’s doing well. He ate pretty good last night and seemed to cool out well.”
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