Rematch at the Spa

Horse Racing Radar
Frisco Bash
Frisco Bash is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, July 31, 2021

In last month's Woody Stephens Stakes (G1), JACKIE'S WARRIOR and DRAIN THE CLOCK put on a show and reminded us how exciting Grade 1 sprint races can be. The two speedsters hooked up along the backstretch and got into their own private little match race, all the way to the finish line. When the smoke cleared, it was DRAIN THE CLOCK who emerged the winner, surging past his rival in the last half furlong. But it was a narrow score. Can the performance be repeated? On Sunday, we shall find out.

JACKIE'S WARRIOR and DRAIN THE CLOCK renew their rivalry at the Spa for the $200K Amsterdam Stakes (G2). It's a six and one-half furlong sprint over the main track, limited to three-year-olds only. The Post Time is 5:39 PM ET. Here's a look at the field:

  1. RIVER DOG: 6-1




  5. MISTER LUIGI: 30-1


J. Kirk and Judy Robison's JACKIE'S WARRIOR breaks from the three hole for trainer Steve Asmussen, with a morning-line odds of 6-5. Although he was defeated last time out by DRAIN THE CLOCK in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G1), he steadied at the start, and the energy spent recovering from that might've cost him the race. Once Rosario evened him out, JACKIE'S WARRIOR rushed up the rail to seize the lead from DRAIN THE CLOCK and had to press the issue from the inside position. 

The replay of the 2021 Woody Stephens (G1) is shown below:

JACKIE'S WARRIOR did not catch a breather, as DRAIN THE CLOCK was on his throatlatch all the way through the turn. Well, the MACLEAN'S MUSIC colt will shorten half a furlong in distance for this task, which should be to his liking. Note that JACKIE'S WARRIOR already touts two graded stakes wins over this Saratoga course. 

As for DRAIN THE CLOCK, this competitor demands respect, period. He is putting together quite the resume. He won six of eight starts, plus achieved a new top speed figure from his most recent score in the Woody Stephens (G1). Aside from the race he lost his rider, DRAIN THE CLOCK's lone defeat came in his only route race, which was against the talented GREATEST HONOUR. Nevertheless, DRAIN THE CLOCK wasn't embarrassed in the slightest; he finished second. But in races around one turn? He's been perfect.

DRAIN THE CLOCK's strategy seems simple enough: get to the front and run them off their feet. In preparation for this race, he fired a bullet work for trainer Joseph Saffie Jr. A, going 5F in :59 flat, the fastest of 19 works at that distance. Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call.

Looking for a longshot play? Consider RIVER DOG for trainer Jeremiah C. Englehart. With two wins in a row, this lightly-raced colt has his mind on running. He's fairly quick, with :22.2 opening quarter-mile speed, but he might find it better to rate from off the pace. He could inherit the perfect stalking trip behind two dueling leaders setting a torrid pace. Isn't it conceivable that if the top two favorites hit a wall, RIVER DOG might have the closing kick to get the job done? He could get the jump on CROWDED TRADE, who is still searching for his best form. Matter of fact, RIVER DOG averages stronger Late-Speed figures than our top two favorites. If he takes a step forward, he could come flying late. Plus Jose Ortiz gets the call. This one is worth a good look.

Get today's full picks for all tracks and races on our Premium Picks Page.