|GREGORIAN CHANT RALLIES FROM LAST TO TAKE $70,000 CLOCKERS’ CORNER STAKES UNDER HERNANDEZ; TRAINED BY D’AMATO, HE GETS SIX FURLONGS ON TURF IN 1:08.42
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2021)–Well beaten in a Grade II stakes going a mile and one half on turf Nov. 27, trainer Phil D’Amato’s English-bred Gregorian Chant shortened up in distance and rallied from last to first in Sunday’s $70,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes at Santa Anita, winning by 2 ¼ lengths. Ridden by the meet’s leading rider Juan Hernandez, Gregorian Chant got six furlongs out of Santa Anita’s turf chute in 1:08.42 over a course listed as firm.
Entered in his first sprint since breaking his maiden at first asking going seven furlongs on a synthetic surface in Ireland on December 7, 2018, Gregorian Chant was ridden confidently by Hernandez, despite the fact he was trying an entirely different game today.
Last, about seven lengths off the lead heading into the far turn, Gregorian Chant was into the bridle as Hernandez angled out while trying to exploit a fast early pace set by Mr Vargas and Thanks Mr. Eidson. Six-wide turning for home, Gregorian Chant gained the advantage a sixteenth of a mile from home and won going away.
“Phil told me don’t change his style,” said Hernandez, who had won aboard Gregorian Chant in a 1 1/16 mile turf allowance three starts back at Del Mar on Aug. 29. “It looked like there was plenty of speed and there was. The race set up good for us. Turning for home, I had a lot of horse and he just exploded. He passed those other horses pretty easy.”
Eleventh, beaten 15 ¾ lengths in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 27, Gregorian Chant was off at 10-1 and paid $23.00, $8.20 and $4.60.
“I gotta give Nick Cosato (Slam Dunk Racing) a lot of credit,” said D’Amato. He thought of this after his last race. Just remembering what a big turn of foot he had from when we bought him, we thought it was worth a try. Juan fits this horse really well. Actually his brother, Jonathan, gallops him in the morning, so it’s kind of a little family affair there. Juan has a special touch there with him and gets everything out of him.”
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Old Bones Racing Stable, LLC and Michael Nentwig, Gregorian Chant, a 5-year-old gelding, picked up his first stakes win and improved his overall mark to 13-4-0-2. Purchased privately following his maiden win in Ireland, Gregorian Chant picked up $43,920 for the win, increasing his earnings to $165,013.
Although passed by his stablemate at the top of the lane, Strike Me Down, who was five-deep at the time, kept to his task and overhauled Thanks Mr. Eidson by a head for second, giving D’Amato a one-two finish. Off as the 2-1 favorite with Umberto Rispoli, Strike Me Down paid $4.80 and $3.00.
Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Thanks Mr. Eidson, who tracked Mr Vargas to the quarter pole, stayed on gamely and paid $3.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.76, 44.65 and 56.63.