01/29/2012 6:20PM

Santa Anita: Clubhouse Ride launches comeback in Strub

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Benoit & Associates
Clubhouse Ride, winner of the Barretts Juvenile in 2010, will return from a layoff of nearly 13 months in Saturday's Strub.

The 2010 stakes winner Clubhouse Ride will return from a layoff of nearly 13 months in Saturday’s $200,000 Strub Stakes, a situation that trainer Craig Lewis admits is less than ideal.

“My options are somewhat limited with him,” he said. “It’s pretty demanding to go a mile and an eighth after his workouts.”

Owned by a partnership, Clubhouse Ride has won 2 of 11 starts and $317,550. He was second behind Tapizar in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes here in January 2011, and must once again deal with that colt in the Grade 2 Strub, which is run over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds. Tapizar won the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes over 1 1/16 miles last month, and will be a strong favorite in the Strub.

Clubhouse Ride, the winner of the Barretts Juvenile Stakes at Fairplex Park in September 2010, was diagnosed with a hairline fracture of his right ankle a month after the 2011 Sham.

The Strub will be the longest race of Clubhouse Ride’s career. Acknowledging the competition, Lewis is hopeful that the Strub Stakes will be a foundation for the rest of Clubhouse Ride’s season.

“I think he’s up against it,” Lewis said. “Tapizar is a tough horse and he’s fit. We want to let him relax and run his race. And more importantly come back good.”

The Strub Stakes field will include Balladry and Prayer for Relief, who were second and third in the San Fernando; Ultimate Eagle, the winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November, possibly the stakes-placed Indian Winter.

Sunday at Santa Anita, Prayer for Relief worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds, the fastest of 58 recorded works at the distance.

“We gave him a stiff work because last time he got a little tired,” trainer Bob Baffert said.

Prayer for Relief won three consecutive graded stakes for 3-year-olds last summer and fall, but has lost his last three starts. He finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Tapizar in the San Fernando.