'Power' among several that can rebound in Saturday stakes

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 5th, 2016

Saturday is a blockbuster day of racing at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, and because of it I figure to be more active betting than at any time so far this year. As usual, there are a number of heavy stakes favorites I have no plans on opposing (i.e. Songbird, Lady Shipman, The Pizza Man, even Mor Spirit), but I've found an adequate number of alternatives.

Stanford -- $100,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3) (GP Race 5, 6-1) -- He hasn't run since July nor against older horses before, but appears to be entering this comeback in good order following a lengthy series of drills at Palm Beach Downs. Capable either on the lead or sitting right off the pace, he showed a fondness for the track last year and has enough stamina to last farther than this as shown by his narrow loss to International Star in last year's Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds (a track that horse has never lost over). A chance to grab a well-regarded member from the Pletcher barn at a price.

Uchenna -- $100,000 Suwannee River (G3) (GP Race 6, 8-1) -- Seemingly prefers synthetic surfaces to turf, but keep in mind she was facing tougher competition early in her career overseas and has never really run to her best on less-than-firm courses. Won over ideal ground at Woodbine last spring, and her fourth in the Canadian (G2) on yielding turf wasn't that bad considering the circumstances. The effort would seemingly put her in contention here if repeated. New trainer Mark Casse and jockey Jose Lezcano have been a potent combo both here and elsewhere over the past 13 months.

Power Alert -- $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (GP Race 10, 4-1) -- Went two-for-two over this course and distance during the 2014-15 meet, and solidified his status as one of the top turf sprinters in the country winning the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G3) at Churchill Downs. The plug was pulled on the season after back-to-back fourths in the Jaipur (G3) at Parx Dash (G3), and latest second in the $90,000 Turf Dash at Tampa Bay downs was a strong tune-up for his reappearance here. Reunited with Julien Leparoux on Saturday, and figures tough to beat.

Dorodansa -- $100,000 Martha Washington (OP Race 8, 4-1) -- Frizette (G1) winner Nickname will be the favorite here, but that was a weak renewal of the race she won in the slop. In the event she's vulnerable, it's best to take a shot elsewhere. This filly broke her maiden comfortably going a mile at Keeneland, and has run two bang-up races in a row while falling short in the $100,000 Trapeze at Remington Park in the slop and in a first-level allowance over this track. Found herself moving earlier than usual in the latter event, and could not edge her way past returning rival Ready to Confess. With the help of some other fast fillies here, expect that one to be more pressured thus allowing this daughter of Bellamy Road to be in the mix late.

Blingo -- $500,000 San Antonio (G2) (SA Race 7, 20-1) -- Won this race two years ago and raced only once more before hitting the sidelines for 19 months. Comeback in the Knickerbocker (G3) on turf is a toss, but seems to have gradually worked his way back to better form in his past two starts, the latter a fifth in the San Pasqual (G2). One of several hurt by the slow pace of that race (he tracked in third but didn't have the kick to keep up with California Chrome), he might enjoy a better trip this time with several speed elements breaking inside him.

Power Foot -- $200,000 San Marcos (G2) (SA Race 8, 15-1) -- Endured some trouble when placing in this race last year, and luckily doesn't have a horse the quality of Finnegans Wake to face again here. He also need not deal with The Pizza Man or Big John B, who he finished third behind last out in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at 59-1. This veteran is proven over course and distance and his best effort is sufficient enough to potentially pull off the upset.

(Power Alert photo: Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)