ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2017)–Bob Baffert’s classy Moonlight Drive and trainer Peter Miller’s Stormy Liberal head a full field of 11 older horses in Sunday’s $75,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes, to be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
A close third in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) on Dec. 26, Moonlight Drive’s primary opposition appears to be Stormy Liberal, who has three wins from eight tries down the hill and comes off a second place finish over the course in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes Dec. 26. Trainer John Sadler’s Blameitonthelaw comes off a sharp allowance win on a “good” main track here Jan. 2 and will try the hillside for the first time on Sunday.
MOONLIGHT DRIVE: Owned by CHRB Chairman Charles Winner, David Bienstock and Ward or Ro Williford, this 4-year-old Italian-bred gelding pressed the pace and went on to a neck victory in a second condition allowance over the course two starts back and should thus have no problem cutting back in distance from one mile. Raced exclusively on grass in both France and in Southern California, he was a close third four starts back in the Grade III La Jolla Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf Aug. 6 and was subsequently seventh, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf Del Mar Derby Sept. 4. In six stateside starts, he has two wins from six starts and he boasts an overall mark of 11-3-3-3.
STORMY LIBERAL: Claimed by Miller on behalf of Rockingham Ranch for $40,000 three starts back on Oct. 16, this 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding took the lead turning for home and ended up second, beaten 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade III San Simeon on opening day. With three wins and as many seconds over the course, he can be counted on for a solid effort on Sunday, but class remains a question.
BLAMEITONTHELAW: A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Blame, he has the look of an up and comer for Sadler and will be trying the hillside course for the first time in the Clockers’ Corner. Ridden for the first time by underrated Luis Contreras in his Jan. 2, win, he achieved a career-best 94 Beyer Speed figure. Always well regarded, he was third, behind eventual Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, in the 2015 Del Mar Futurity (Grade I), in only his second career start. Owned by Doubledown Stables, Inc., he has two wins from nine starts.
THE $75,000 CLOCKERS’ CORNER STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PST
- Horse Laugh–Tyler Baze–119
- Blameitonthelaw–Luis Contreras–119
- Stylistics United—Jose Verenzuela–119
- Indriya–Tiago Pereira–114
- Snow Cloud–Santiago Gonzalez–114
- McHeat–Corey Nakatani–119
- Cape Wolfe–Stewart Elliott–119
- Forever Juanito–Agapito Delgadillo–119
- Moonlight Drive–Rafael Bejarano–119
- Stormy Liberal–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–119
- Tribal Fighter–Flavien Prat–119
Also Eligible: Aotearoa–Drayden Van Dyke–119
First post time for a nine-race program on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.