Drain the Clock has not left the competition much time to come back on him during a sophomore campaign that has already featured three graded stakes victories. The Maclean's Music colt will look to complete the trifecta of graded stakes scores at a NYRA track, headlining the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs over Saratoga Race Course's main track on Sunday, August 1.
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing and Madaket Stables, Drain the Clock enters his Spa debut off an impressive victory by a neck over fellow Amsterdam contender Jackie's Warrior in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Woody Stephens presented by Nassau County Industrial Development Association on Belmont Stakes Day June 5.
The Saffie Joseph, Jr. trainee earned a personal-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for that victory over Big Sandy, which came two months after a win at the same distance in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack.
||Drain the Clock
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
||Flash of Mischief
Drain the Clock has won four of his five starts this year, commencing his campaign with two triumphs in January at Gulfstream Park. In total, Drain the Clock has won six of his seven career sprints, including a 7 1/2-length victory in his 3-year-old debut in the six-furlong Limehouse on January 2 at Gulfstream before posting a 6 1/4-length win in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Swale later that month over the same track.
Joseph, Jr. stretched out Drain the Clock in his only career route in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, where he ran a competitive second, just 1 1/2 lengths back to winner Greatest Honour, before racking up two consecutive graded stakes wins when cut back.
"Most of his one-turn races were won in hand," Joseph, Jr. said. "He was basically geared down the last sixteenth in the Bay Shore. We always thought he had more to give but until you see it you don't know for sure and the Woody Stephens was definitely his breakout race. He earned his respect that day and beat a game horse in Jackie's Warrior. He's in good form and I think he's going over there with a really good chance.
"We tried two turns once and he ran credibly, but one turn is his niche and what he does best," he added.
Drain the Clock, bred by Nick Cosato in Kentucky, will have Irad Ortiz, Jr.'s services from post 2.
In the Woody Stephens, Drain the Clock edged fellow Maclean's Music progeny Jackie's Warrior at the wire. He will now be returning to a Saratoga track in which he won two graded stakes in his juvenile year, capturing the Grade 2 Saratoga Special last August before winning the Grade 1 Hopeful.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Jackie's Warrior made a strong bid for Champion 2-Year-Old honors, notching a 5 1/2-length win in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont to give him three graded stakes wins in his first four starts. After running fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November, Jackie's Warrior carried that success into 2021, running third in the Grade 3 Southwest in February while on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Shortened up after that effort, Jackie's Warrior bested Dream Shake by a head in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby Day before matching Drain the Clock's 97 Beyer for the Woody Stephens.
Owned by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, Jackie's Warrior is approaching millionaire status, registering an 8-5-1-1 record with earnings of $948,964. He will look to reach that threshold Saturday, breaking from post 3 with regular rider Joel Rosario in the irons.
Klaravich Stables' Crowded Trade, who last raced when fifth in the Grade 1 Preakness on May 15 at Pimlico, has twice finished in the money in graded stakes, starting when second - a nose back to Weyburn - in the Grade 3 Gotham on March at the Big A. A competitive third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino in April in the Big A's signature race set up his start in a Triple Crown race, where he finished 12 1/4-lengths back to winner Rombauer.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Crowded Trade will make his first start at Saratoga with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano returning to ride from the outermost post 6.
Robert Hahn's New York homebred River Dog will bring his 2-for-2 record into his graded stakes bow. The Jeremiah Englehart trainee was a seven-length debut winner going six furlongs on May 2 at Belmont and won against state breds in the seven-furlong Mike Lee over a sloppy and sealed Belmont track on May 31.
The son of Twirling Candy will face open company on full rest, drawing the inside post with Jose Ortiz aboard.
"He's done everything we expected him to do," Englehart said. "He ran so well in his maiden, and in the Mike Lee was able to get the job done. We wanted to let some time go by. We gave him two months between races, so hopefully from a timing standpoint, it works out the way we think it will."
Rounding out the field is Jerry Namy's Flash of Mischief, who will be cutting back in distance off consecutive runner-up efforts at Prairie Meadows in the Prairie Mile and the Iowa Derby, for trainer Karl Broberg [post 4, Eric Cancel]; and Lugamo Racing Stable's Mister Luigi, who won his debut in September and returned off a 10-month layoff to finish fourth against optional claimers on July 9 at Gulfstream Park in his first start since Antonio Sano took over the training duties [post 5, Luis Saez].
The Amsterdam is slated as Race 9 on the 10-race card with a post time of 5:39 p.m. Eastern. First post is 1:05 p.m.
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