Smokey Stover’s Big Day Starts In Stephens

Smokey Stover’s Clash Study takes the Gr-2 Stephens for 3yo’s on Saturday

The Stephens (Grade 2)- $300.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
June 10, 2017


Long time trainer Smokey Stover had himself quite that day at BEL on Saturday, winning three in a row, a stretch that started with the Grade 2 Stephens, then the Grade 1 Just A Game, before ending the streak with a win in the Grade 1 Acorn. The only thing that could stop this streak was his lack of an entry in the next race. (This is being written prior to the running of the Metropolitan, so we’ll see if he can Rush to his own Perfect Day there later). Here, we will look at the Stephens, which was a seven furlong event for three year olds. It seemed as though Mb Stables had the top two horses in this field, but Smokey was bringing in a gelding in Clash Study on a three race winning streak, and making his graded stake debut. He was expected to contend, was among our picks, and went off a 6/1 odds, a figure that seemed perfect for him heading into it. In the end, Clash Study stepped up just like he did three weeks ago in his first stake, the ungraded Lang in front of the PRK crowd at BEL. Clash Study knows how to step up on big days, and we’ll see how much more forward he will go. Congrats to Smokey Stover, who wins the race for the first time. Jockey R Bejarano wins for the second, as he was in the saddle for the first ever Stephens, run in 2006. The time of the win was 1:21.56, making it the second quickest running of the stake. Here’s a look at the race!

(1/4 Mile- :22.91)- The outside push is strong for both Sonar, the post time favorite from Mb Stables, and Pip Pip Hooray (Gdp Inc). They break the quickest of everyone, and clear the field by about a length and a half. Sonar continues to lead down the backstretch, though after about a furlong, Pip Pip Hooray backed off of the challenge, and based on the time of this fraction, I assume that was by jockey choice. This moved him into what seemed to be a very tight pack heading into the turn. Superq (Establo Pichon) and the eventual winner Clash Study (Smokey Stover) challenged Pip Pip Hooray on each side of him at this point. Noble Crusader (Mb Stables) was in close proximity here as well, and Pie Of The Tiger (John Henry) and Kiss The Snake (Luz International) were only three off the lead. Socraties (Blushing Meadows), who’s odds show the ridiculousness of the virtual oddsmaking program here that I refuse to dignify them and call him such a longshot as that was outright ludicrous, is at the back, but only four off the lead.

(Top of stretch, 1.7F to go)- Going right to this portion of the recap based on the semantics of this race. As the field moved around the turn, Clash Study, who has been in the ideal lane, pulled even pretty quickly with Sonar as a half mile went in :45.91. Methodically, he found himself to the front of the field, and as we hit the top of the stretch, he was looking pretty good with the length the lead, but there was still plenty of time for the opposition, many of whom also looked to have something in the tank. Sonar began to back out of it, as did Pip Pip Hooray, who got swallowed up in the turn. Both Superq and Noble Crusader seemed to be in great position here, with the latter having the perfect lane to make a move forward. Pie Of The Tiger was starting to look worn out here. From behind, Socraties looked to forward, moving five wide. Kiss The Snake was beat to the punch here, and because of that, his lane was not as clear for the stretch, as it was for Socraties.

Finish (1:21.56)- The length and a half lead that Clash Study built heading into the stretch proved to be insurmountable for his rivals. He responded well to R Bejarano’s urging, and it was only in the second half of the stretch run, did we see anyone making significant progress on him. Clash Study would not give in, and the late charge by Noble Crusader would only be good enough for second, and did not really seem to threaten for the win. Noble Crusader ran a good race, and the trainer has nothing to hang his head about concerning this effort, which was furlong shorter, at least, from what he was most used to running. The battle for third between Socraties and Kiss The Snake proved to pretty good as well, with Socraties prevailing. Like Noble Crusader, this was a bit shorter then what he has been running leading up to the race. Superq was steady in the stretch, but lacked a push, and finished fifth. The rest of the field was going backwards in the stretch, as Pie Of The Tiger, Sonar, and Pip Pip Hooray round out your finish.

About The Winner: Clash Study, trained by Smokey Stover and ridden by R Bejarano, is a three year old gelding by Gsin, and out of Beyond The Stars. He was bred in California by Team 7 Illusions as a second quarter two year old, but did not stay there long. He was ultimately acquired by Smokey Stover, via Downwind Stables in October 2016 in private sales for $190.000. Congratulations to the connections! Clash Study is now on a four-race winning streak, and has won six of twelve overall. This was his first graded stake win.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Clash Study Smokey Stover Bejarano R 6.25   13/4 1:21.56  
  Noble Crusader Mb Stables Ortiz I Jr 2.75   23/4 1:21.71  
  Socraties Blushing Meadows Desormeaux K J 132.60   31/2 1:21.88  
  Kiss The Snake Luz International DeCarlo C P 3.80   41/4 1:21.98  
  Superq Establo Pichon Ortiz J L 9.15   53/4 1:22.07  
  Pie Of The Tiger John Henry Albarado R J 19.00   61/2 1:22.24  
  Sonar Mb Stables Velazquez J R 2.35   61/2 1:22.24  
  Pip Pip Hooray Gdp Inc Leparoux J R 7.50   8 1:22.34  

Track: Fast

Time: :224  :454  1:091  1:212

$2 Mutuel Prices:

6 – Clash Study 14.50 6.40 4.60
5 – Noble Crusader   4.10 3.50
4 – Socraties     220.50

$1 Exacta: 6 – 5 Paid 36.90

$1 Trifecta: 6 – 5 – 4 Paid 1,649.10

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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