Miles Ahead Upsets Drain the Clock in Gulfstream Park Sprint
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Miles Ahead only beat heavily favored Drain the Clock by little more than a head in Saturday’s $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint, but trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. had complete confidence that the vastly improved 4-year-old would be up to the task.
“He’s just gotten better and better. Each race, he just seems to go forward,” said Plesa, who trains the son of Competitive Edge for his wife Laure, David Melin and Leon Elman. “I felt real confident going into this race that it was going to take an exceptional effort by somebody to beat him.”
Miles Ahead, the 3-1 second betting choice who captured the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream in July, ran six furlongs in 1:08.88 to capture his third straight race of the 2021-2022 Championship Meet.
Drain the Clock, a Grade 1 winner coming off a sharp victory in a Dec. 20 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, was sent to post as the 3-5 favorite in a field of five. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained 4-year-old broke sharply but was eased off the pace by Irad Ortiz Jr. as Francatelli and Gatsby dueled to his inside along the backstretch and Miles Ahead bided his time in fourth. Drain the Clock moved three-wide around the pacesetters to take a lead into the stretch with Miles Ahead in hot pursuit. The favorite kicked in through the stretch while drifting out late, but Miles Ahead would not be denied under Paco Lopez.
Drain the Clock, who won the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont last season, finished 4 ¼ lengths clear of multiple graded-stakes winner Diamond Oops, who finished third after lagging off the early pace.
Drain the Clock had won four of five previous starts at Gulfstream, his only loss coming in a second-place finish in last year’s 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth (G1). The Kentucky-bred colt, who won the six-furlong Limehouse and seven-furlong Swale (G3) prior to the Fountain of Youth, went on to win the Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct and Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park.
Plesa said he had no firm next-out plans for Miles Ahead, who won for the 11th time during a 21-race career,
“He’s found his niche and we’re taking advantage of it. Who knows what the future holds, but it makes you think about a lot of things,” Plesa said.