05/08/2013 3:33PM

Churchill Downs: Power Broker faces older horses in Friday allowance

Barbara D. Livingston
Power Broker, who won the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes last September, is the lone 3-year-old entered in Friday’s allowance at Churchill.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Power Broker will trade Grade 1 stakes company for older foes when the 3-year-old colt returns to action Friday on the first twilight program of the Churchill Downs spring meet.

As one of the leading 2-year-olds of 2012, Power Broker is sure to be a heavy favorite in the 10th of 11 Friday races, which is scheduled for 7:24 p.m. Eastern. As a maiden, the colt was good enough to win the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes (formerly the Norfolk) at Santa Anita, making him the 2-1 second choice in his next race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Alas, Power Broker was a so-so fifth in the Breeders’ Cup, and although Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert tried to make a backdoor effort at getting the Pulpit colt to the Kentucky Derby, he just couldn’t justify it when Power Broker ran a distant fifth behind Goldencents last month in the Santa Anita Derby in his first start at 3.

With that badly needed race under him, and by taking full advantage of the race conditions in place Friday – it’s a first-level allowance that also allows the entry of a horse who has never won two races lifetime – Power Broker figures to use this as a stepping-stone for a return to the upper stakes ranks in the 3-year-old division.

Rosie Napravnik has the call on Power Broker, who drew the outside post in a field of eight for the 1 1/16-mile race. The colt has had three workouts over the Churchill Downs surface since traveling here with the rest of the Baffert stable for the Kentucky Derby festivities.

Clearly, the trickiest aspect of the class drop is that Power Broker is the only 3-year-old in the field. Of the opposition, the 4-year-old Suns Out Guns Out (post 3, Corey Lanerie) might be the most dangerous after being favored under similar conditions in his last start at Gulfstream Park.

Others meriting mild upset chances include Casino Dan (post 1, Shaun Bridgmohan), Tater Downs (post 2, Alan Garcia), and Wolf Whistle (post 5, Gary Stevens).

The featured race is the only allowance on a Friday card otherwise filled with maiden and claiming races. First post is 2:45 p.m.

Churchill has scheduled twilight Fridays for the duration of the meet, which runs through June 30. The track is billing the programs as “The City’s Best Happy Hour” while offering various food and drink specials and live music in the expanded Plaza area adjacent to the paddock.

Three Saturdays (June 15, 22, and 29) will be evening cards with a 6 p.m. first post.