04/03/2011 6:07PM

Santa Anita: Uncle Sam's comeback


Uncle Sam ($10.40) led throughout a one-mile optional claimer for 3-year-olds in Sunday's seventh race, holding off a late from from 30-1 Clarke Lane to win by a neck.

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, Uncle Sam was timed in 1:36.28. Baffert said that Uncle Sam lost a shoe in the race. Sunday's race was Uncle Sam's first start since a fourth in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Jan. 15. Baffert said that Uncle Sam was plagued by a sore foot during the winter.

Clarke Lane, trained by Simon Callaghan, made his first start in the United States on Sunday, and was last of eight with a furlong remaining. Clarke Lane had moderate form in England last year, winning once in four starts. Callaghan said on Sunday that Clarke Lane has improved while training on dirt, and that the horse will be schooled at the gate to improve on his American debut when he broke slowly.

In the final furlong, Clarke Lane ran past Wilburn, the 3-5 favorite who wound up fifth, beaten 2 1-4 lengths. Wilburn appeared to struggle with dirt in his face in the first half-mile, but closed well late. The eight-horse field was separated by 4 3-4 lengths.