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Annihilation Wins Clocker's Corner

Back from the Fair Grounds in Louisiana where she had won a minor stakes race sprinting on the grass at odds of 5-1, Annihilation ran down 2-1 Czechers in the final strides of Sunday’s inaugural running of the $64,050 Clocker’s Corner Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

With Alex Solis in the saddle at odds of 6-1, Annihilation rallied from eighth in the field of 11 to prevail by a neck for her fifth victory in her last eight starts while running the distance in 1:12.50. Czechers, handled by Rafael Bejarano, finished one-half length ahead of third-place Bella Roja with Joe Talamo aboard.


Annihilation, a 4-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet trained by Dan Hendricks, returned from a seven-week respite to score in the race designed to serve as a prep for the Grade III Las Cienegas Handicap over the same course on April 11.


The winner paid $14.80, $6 and $5. The mutuels on Czechers were $4 and $3.40 while Bella Roja returned $10.40 to show.


Czechers pursued pace-setter Manhattan Beach through some brisk early fractions while Solis settled his filly near the rear. Czechers gained the lead at the sixteenth pole before succumbing to Annihilation’s furious rally on the extreme outside.


“Her best style is to sit and wait,” said Hendricks. “That’s what we wanted to do, and make one quick burst. We thought she could move up on the turf (5-for-8), and she’d be a good filly. She’s gone on beyond that expectation now with the last two wins and figuring out her style. She’s a little thing that wants to go when you ask her to. This sets up perfect for her to go to the Las Cienegas.”


“I had a great trip,” Solis said. “Dan (Hendricks) wanted me to save ground and keep her together. I was waiting in the back, in the middle of the pack and saving ground. At the eighth of a mile, I got her into the clear and she just did her stuff.”


The winning purse of $36,990 elevated the career earnings of Annihilation to $213,270 for the partnership of Jeff Davenport, Tom Lenner and William Strauss from an overall record of 5-3-2 in 13 starts.


Santa Anita will be dark on Monday and Tuesday before the beginning of a five-day racing week on Wednesday with an eight-race program beginning at 1 p.m.

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