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.