07/25/2007 11:00PM

Morey out to strike once more


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Since trainer Billy Morey claimed Christmas Stocking for $62,500 on April 14 at Santa Anita, she has won a second-level allowance race and finished third in a stakes race.

Just a typical Morey claim.

If Morey wins Saturday's $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap with Christmas Stocking, it will be the second time in three years he has won the race with a recent claim. The 4-year-old filly has five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Morey has had phenomenal success the past three years with claims that have gone on to win or place in stakes.

Don Jaun Con, claimed for $32,000 in May 2005, won the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity in his second start for Morey.

Penny Ante, a $25,000 claim in May 2005, won both the Luther Burbank and Hillsborough handicaps.

Stone Rain, an $80,000 claim in March 2006, won the Sam Whiting and was second in the Ernest Finley here last year.

Swen, a $25,000 claim in June 2006, ran third in last year's Ernest Finley.

Britt's Jules, a $25,000 claim last November, ran second in the Fairfax and Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint following the claim.

Morey claimed last week's Wine Country Juvenile Filly runner-up, Shes a Lucky Wager, for $25,000 this year.

Christmas Stocking was an odds-on allowance winner on May 12 in her first start for Morey, 28 days after being claimed for $62,500.

"We were lucky with her," Morey said. "It paid off when we won that second-condition race, so we decided to take a shot in the Yerba Buena."

Morey admitted going into the Yerba Buena that he was worried the 1 3/8-mile distance would be too far, and that turned out to be the case. Christmas Stocking ran evenly in the turf race, sitting second behind slow fractions before fading to third late.

"She ran a good race, but I think this distance should be better for her," Morey said.

Snowdrop, who won her turf debut from off the pace here last year, comes off a wire-to-wire victory in the Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap at Pleasanton on July 4, which earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.