Eight horses will dash six panels on the Santa Anita lawn in Sunday’s $70,000 Clocker’s Corner S. Grade 3 winner #1 Mr. Vargas (9-5) draws inside and has the look of lone speed in a field without an abundance of pace in the mix. The lightly raced 7-year-old comes off a dominant sprint win on the dirt at Los Alamitos, and the son of Midshipman smoked a bullet half-mile in his most recent morning move as well. The chestnut will be a tough beat with his top effort under the guidance of Jessica Pyfer. But I will try to defeat the Florida-bred.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has a pair of players in the field, including my top pick #2 Strongconstitution (10-1). The 4-year-old colt is a two-time winner on the green who has flashed considerable ability on occasion at this stage of his development. Second in both the Bob Hope (G3) and Sunny Slope S. as a juvenile, the $220,000 purchase notched his initial stakes victory when getting up late in the Let it Ride S. at Del Mar in November.

The dark bay tried his hand with graded stakes foes in his last pair to no avail, but he will thrive on the class drop as well as the cutback in distance on Sunday. Strongconstitution has never run a bad one when sprinting, and I love the addition of blinkers for Sunday, too. The Kentucky-bred possesses tactical speed, and he figures to get first run on the deep closers on Sunday with an alert break from the gate. Tiago Pereira picks up the mount atop the choice, and the duo will track the early leader to late stretch before edging clear inside the final furlong.

I can’t find a whole lot of separation in the field behind my top duo, and much of the cast owns the same running style as well. Using the ‘all’ button in the lower rungs of my vertical plays is the plan.

Clocker’s Corner Wagers

  • $10 Win and Place: #2 Strongconstitution ($20)
  • $10 Exacta Box: 1-2 ($20)
  • $1 Trifecta: 1,2 with 1,2 with all ($12)
  • $.20-cent Superfecta: 1,2 with 1,2 with all with all ($6)