06/29/2011 4:41PM

Arlington Park: Alternation heading to Saratoga for Jim Dandy

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Alternation is being pointed to the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on July 30.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Alternation, winner of the May 14 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont in his most recent start, will make a return trip to New York for the July 30 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga if all goes according to plan, trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Wednesday.

Von Hemel said he has secured four stalls for the Saratoga meet, though the three horses he sends with Alternation have yet to be determined. Von Hemel’s small string will ship 10 days to two weeks before the Jim Dandy, giving Alternation a chance to gallop and work over the Saratoga track.

Alternation, a Pin Oak homebred by Distorted Humor, has won 4 of 6 starts and is 4 for 5 in two-turn races. The colt might have wound up in the Triple Crown series had his winter campaign at Oaklawn Park developed differently. Alternation flipped in the gate and had to be scratched from the Rebel Stakes, then endured a poor trip when fifth in the Arkansas Derby before confirming his quality with a determined win over Adios Charlie in the Peter Pan. Alternation was subsequently considered for the Belmont Stakes, but his connections eventually elected to pass the race and point for a late summer-fall campaign.

Alternation has worked three times here in June, posting an easy half and five-eighths before breezing a quicker five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Saturday.

“He had a good work last weekend,” Von Hemel said. “The couple works before that were pretty easy, but this time we let him run by another horse down the lane.”

Von Hemel also said that 3-year-old Caleb’s Posse came out of a fourth-place finish Saturday in the Iowa Derby with a touch of mucus that might have affected his performance. Immediate plans for the Ohio Derby winner haven’t been set, though Von Hemel mentioned the Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs as one possible spot.

Mixed results for Stidham at Woodbine

The two horses trainer Mike Stidham sent to Woodbine for six-figure stakes races last weekend wound up much farther off the pace than Stidham expected. In Upperline’s case, it didn’t matter as she rallied from last of five to capture the Trillium Stakes by more than three lengths. However, Workin for Hops could finish only 10th in the King Edward Stakes after taking up an unfamiliar position near the back of an 11-horse field.

“I’ve never seen the horse that far back,” Stidham said. “It was puzzling.”

Workin for Hops, very impressive winning the Hanshin over Arlington’s Polytrack in his previous start, emerged apparently unscathed from the King Edward, in which he was beaten only about four lengths. Stidham said that plans are uncertain for the 4-year-old miler, with both turf and synthetic races under consideration.

Upperline’s long-term goal is the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. Stidham said she could return to Woodbine for the Ontario Matron later this summer.

Stidham’s Arlington string will be in graded stakes action here the next two weekends, with new arrival La Rocca set to contest Sunday’s Chicago Handicap, a seven-furlong Polytrack race for fillies and mares. Willcox Inn, meanwhile, has turned in three works since winning the Arlington Classic on May 28 and figures to be among the favorites in the July 9 American Derby. On Sunday, Willcox Inn breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 seconds.

Hydro Power looking for open allowance

All trainer Spanky Broussard needed for a bite on the finger that Hydro Power gave him before winning the Springfield Stakes here Saturday was a Band-Aid and a tetanus shot. Broussard’s son, Neal, has been going through worse back home in New Orleans.

Neal Broussard face planted at Keeneland back in 1993, when the stakes horse he was galloping, Irish Swaps, broke down and fell. Broussard’s neck has been injured ever since.

“They finally told him if he didn’t get it fixed, he’d end up in a wheelchair,” the elder Broussard reported from his Arlington office Wednesday.

Neal Broussard had surgery to repair his neck about a month ago, and his father has been back and forth to visit several times since. In between trips, he managed to ready Hydro Power for a strong performance on Saturday’s Prairie State Festival, with the Aptitude colt winning the Springfield by almost two lengths.

“He loves this Polytrack,” said Broussard, who may look for an open allowance race here sometime later in the meet.

◗ Memorial Maniac looks like the horse to beat Friday in featured race 4, a 1 1/8-mile grass race open to $80,000 claimers, third-level allowance horses, and horses who haven’t won a race in 2011. Memorial Maniac, a three-time course winner, fits under the nonwinners-this-year condition, with two of his three starts having come in graded stakes competition.

◗ Arlington stewards were to have held a hearing Wednesday with jockey Tommy Molina concerning an incident in the starting gate before the fifth race Saturday. Molina was caught on camera standing on the edge of a stall and stomping twice on the back of his mount, Dancing in the Rain, after the horse had become unruly.