ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 23, 2014)–With a pair of wins from five tries down Santa Anita’s unique Camino Real 6 ½ furlong hillside turf course, comebacking Sweet Swap rates a big chance in Sunday’s $75,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes, a race that has attracted a field of nine older horses.
Trained by John Sadler, Sweet Swap, a 5-year-old horse by Candy Ride, has been idle since winning a six furlong turf classified allowance at Hollywood Park on May 19. Two starts back, he pressed the pace and was a gutsy three quarter length winner of a second condition allowance coming down the hill on April 14.
Drawn in post position two with regular rider Rafael Bejarano, Sweet Swap will have plenty of speed to contend with to his outside, but should no-doubt be forwardly placed early. Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, Sweet Swap has worked impressively for his return at Hollywood Park, with his most recent move a six furlong drill in 1:12.40 on Jan. 19.
Lightly raced, Street Swap has four wins, a second and a third from nine starts.
For those who say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” trainer Mike Machowsky may be inclined to lead them over to veteran El Commodore’s stall. Dating back to Jan. 1, 2011 at Tampa Bay Downs, El Commodore, a 7-year-old gelding by El Prado, had routed going middle distances, almost exclusively on turf, in 21 consecutive races prior to running a close second to multiple stakes winning Unbridled’s Note in the Grade III Daytona Stakes down the hill Dec. 28.
“I think I found a found a new niche for him,” said Machowsky this past Monday. “He worked real good this morning (five furlongs in 1:01.40 on the main track.)” Ridden by Gary Stevens, El Commodore sat second early and battled back gamely at the rail in the Daytona.
Owned by Arbitrage Stables, John Gallegos and Kagele Brothers, Inc., El Commodore will be ridden back by Stevens in what will be his 36th career start. He has six wins, seven seconds and five thirds, with earnings of $287,236.
A winner of the six furlong Hollywood Turf Express two starts back Dec. 8, trainer Mike Pender’s Boat Trip was second, beaten a nose, in the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes coming down the hill Sept. 27, and may possess the right style, given the Clocker’s Corner race shape.
With an apparent abundance of speed signed on, it’s expected Joe Talamo will take the 5-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday off the pace and make a run the last quarter mile. Owned by B.J. Wright and James Hirschmann, III, Boat Trip has a win and a second from three starts down the hill and is 15-5-1-3 overall. He has earnings of $260,996.
Trainer Mike Mitchell will be represented by Ready for More, who was claimed for $62,500 out of a 3 ½ length hillside win Jan. 12, his only lifetime attempt down the course. He’ll be ridden back by Mike Smith, who opened up four lengths midway down the hill and was never threatened.
Owned by Joseph Sciarra, Ready for More, a 6-year-old gelding by More Than Ready, has earnings of $211,994 from an overall mark of 24-6-6-4.
Trainer Mark Glatt’s Ankeny Hill is a dyed-in-the-wool front runner in search of his third consecutive win and Hall of Famer Ron McAnally will unveil Di Giorgio, a 5-year-old last-out Group I winner in his native Argentina on May 1.
Bob Baffert’s Drill, graded stakes placed routing in his last two starts, will try the hill for the second time in his career and the 5-year-old son of Lawyer Ron will hope to call upon his class with a late run under Martin Garcia.
Away since Aug. 15, 2012, trainer Barry Abrams’ Lakerville broke his maiden in his only try down the hill and could pose a late threat.
The complete field for the Clockers’ Corner Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card Sunday, the jockeys and weights in post position order: Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 124; Sweet Swap, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Drill, Martin Garcia, 119; Boat Trip, Joe Talamo, 124; Di Giorgio, Tyler Baze, 124; El Commodore, Gary Stevens, 119; Lakerville, Corey Nakatani, 119; Ankeny Hill, Edwin Maldonado, 119, and Ready for More, Mike Smith, 119.
First post time on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.