Clawback Digs Down To Take Jimmy Winkfield; Ortiz Brothers Combine For Six Wins
By Jenny Kellner | 01/21/2013 02:11 PM ET
Five weeks after breaking his maiden, Clawback opened his 3-year-old campaign with a stakes victory, coming from just off the pace and going to a five-length score in the $75,000 Jimmy Winkfield on Monday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Sent off as the 3-5 favorite under hot jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. – who with his brother Jose has won 19 of the past 27 races at the Big A – the dark bay son of Put It Back sat perched just off longshot Rubysandpearls as he took the field of five sophomores through a brisk quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds. Given his cue on the turn, Clawback promptly surged to the lead at the top of the stretch and galloped home unchallenged under a hand ride.
“The trip today was perfect,” said Ortiz, who won five races on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day card, with Jose winning one. “He had a good post, he broke good, and I got a little pressure early on the outside. I asked him a little bit, and he picked it up pretty quick. I went a little fast, but in the end I still had a lot of horse.”
Clawback’s winning time was 1:09.75 for six furlongs over a fast track.
“That went super today,” said Rusty Myers, assistant to winning trainer Rick Violette. “I was a little nervous coming out of the gate – they all came together at one point – but he came out of there in good shape, sat second, and pulled the trigger when Irad asked him.”
Along with extending his record to 2-2-0 from four starts and earning $45,000 for owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Clawback returned $2.90 for a $2 win bet and gave Ortiz a sweep of the holiday weekend stakes. Through Monday, Jose leads the inner track jockey standings with 41 wins, while Irad is in second place with 38 victories.
Winning Cause, who stumbled badly coming out of the gate and trailed early on, rallied to finish second, five lengths back. Following him were Rubysandpearls, In the Fairway, and Meeker Avenue.
Myers said no decision has been made on Clawback’s next start, although the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore on the undercard of the April 6 Wood Memorial was a long-range possibility.
“He did everything right,” said Myers of Clawback. “I think we’re going to stay with the one turn for a while, but that’s up to Rick and the owners. He’s running great sprinting.”