(Jessica Pyfer to ride Mr Vargas in the Clocker’s Corner Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
Jay Em Ess Stable’s lightning quick Mr Vargas moves back to turf and heads a field of eight older horses going six furlongs out of Santa Anita’s turf chute in Sunday’s $70,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes. Trained by Brian Koriner, Mr. Vargas, a 7-year-old gelding by Midshipman, comes off a dazzling gate to wire win in a five furlong classified allowance at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12, a race in which he earned a lofty 103 Beyer Speed figure when ridden for the first time by apprentice Jessica Pyfer.
Supplemented at a cost of $1,400, Thanks Mr. Eidson brings a solid recent allowance form to the Clockers’ Corner and he’ll likely try to apply early pressure to Mr. Vargas with regular rider Edwin Maldonado back aboard. A five furlong turf allowance winner two starts back on Nov. 14 at Del Mar, this 4-year-old More Than Ready gelding has been second in three out of his last four starts, including a nose defeat in a 5 ½ furlong allowance on Dec. 6 at Los Alamitos.
Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable’s Ghoul is one of several horses in good recent form, evidenced by a sharp 1 ¼ length win over the course on Jan. 2. Mid-pack early, he rallied nicely for the win at 8-1. Second in last year’s Clockers’ Corner, Ghoul, a 6-year-old Brazilian-bred gelding trained by Peter Miller, will be ridden for the first time by Abel Cedillo and would benefit from a hot early pace.
Although well beaten at 59-1 in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 ½ miles on Nov. 27, Phil D’Amato’s English-bred Gregorian Chant appears well spotted with leading man Juan Hernandez up. A 5-year-old gelding, Gregorian Chant responded well to Hernandez two and three starts back, finishing third in the one mile turf Lure Stakes here Oct. 25 and winning a 1 1/16 mile turf allowance on Aug. 29 at Del Mar.
A first-out seven furlong maiden winner on synthetic in Ireland in December of 2018, Gregorian Chant, who is owned by Old Bones Racing Stable, LLC, Slam Dunk Racing Stable, LLC and Michael Nentwig, should handle the cutback in distance and will hope to be rolling at the top of the lane.
D’Amato will also be represented by Strike Me Down, who looms dangerous with Umberto Rispoli set to ride. Idle since second, beaten 1 ¾ lengths as the 3-2 favorite in a one mile dirt allowance at Los Alamitos Dec. 5, Strike Me Down, who had been based at Woodbine Race Course, will be making his second Southern California start and his first start for D’Amato. A 6-year-old Ontario-Canadian-bred gelding by Tapit, Strike Me Down was a solid third in his only other sprint try, a seven furlong turf allowance at Woodbine four starts back on Aug. 16.
THE $70,000 CLOCKERS’ CORNER STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 6 of 8 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Mr Vargas – Jessica Pyfer – 122
- Strongconstitution -Tiago Pereira – 124
- Thanks Mr. Eidson–Edwin Maldonado–120
- Real News–Ricardo Gonzalez–122
- Ghoul–Abel Cedillo–122
- Oiseau de Guerre–Ruben Fuentes–122
- Strike Me Down–Umberto Rispoli–120
- Gregorian Chant–Juan Hernandez–122