02/03/2011 5:25PM

Conchacer well rested for Tampa's Super Stakes

Four-Footed Fotos
Conchacer skipped the Pelican Stakes in favor of Saturday’s $75,000 Super Stakes.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Trainer Dale Bennett sent out his quick sprinter Conchacer to capture a prep for the Pelican Stakes in an eye-catching 1:10.56 on Dec. 18 and in past years most likely would have wheeled him right back in three weeks in the six-furlong Pelican.

But an older and wiser Bennett opted to skip that race and wait for Saturday’s $75,000 Super Stakes at seven furlongs. Conchacer will face nine rivals, including Pelican winner See I A and Capt. Candyman Can, who will be making his first start since running in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“We decided to skip the Pelican and instead have him a little fresher for Saturday’s race,” Bennett said Thursday, “I’m sure he would have run well in there, but this way we’re not asking him to run three hard races in a row with three weeks between races.”

Conchacer made only five starts last season as a 4-year-old. His abbreviated campaign was the result of the Congaree gelding suffering a chipped knee in last year’s running of the Super Stakes.

“They operated and took out the chip, and he was off from February until October but has run three solid races since he’s been back,” Bennett said.

Conchacer finished fourth in an optional claimer at Keeneland in his comeback, then was second, a length behind See I A, in an optional claimer at Hawthorne. He won a no-conditions allowance race here last time out.

“The race at Hawthorne could have easily been a stakes race, there was that much talent in that field, and the race at Keeneland also had some tough ones in it,” Bennett said. “He’s a hardy horse and has come back since his last to train well.”

Conchacer has won 4 of 14 races, with three of those wins coming over the local strip.

See I A won his fifth straight race when he rallied from just off the pace to take the Pelican. Sent off at 7-1 in that six-furlong sprint, See I A will no doubt draw a good deal more public support Saturday. The Jamie Ness trainee has won 12 of 28 lifetime starts and has come back with two strong morning drills for this one.

Capt. Candyman Can may well go favored, despite making his first start in 15 months. The Ian Wilkes trainee has won 6 of 12 lifetime starts and was a highly regarded 3-year-old in 2009, winning the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes as well as the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga through disqualification after finishing a head behind Vineyard Haven. He sports a series of solid workouts at Palm Meadows for this return.