04/23/2009 12:00AM

Crafty Power packs runaway speed


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Left alone on the lead, Crafty Power can do brave things. He won the Portland Meadows Mile from the front on March 23, his first stakes win.

The race was not run on Crafty Power's best surface, according to Dan Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's assistant.

"He's better on the grass," Ward said.

The point can be proven in Saturday's $150,000 Khaled Stakes for statebreds at Hollywood Park The Khaled Stakes is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf and has drawn a field of 10.

Crafty Power, owned by Hollendorfer and George Todaro, will attempt to lead throughout in the richest race of his career. A 5-year-old gelding, Crafty Power has won 6 of 21 starts, with 5 wins coming against claimers. He has won four times on turf.

In the Khaled, Crafty Power will be chased by an accomplished, but inconsistent, group of rivals. Harlene won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes on the 2008 California Gold Rush Day program, but is winless in his last 10 starts. Swift Winds won the California Cup Mile last October, but has lost his last three starts. Medzendeekron won the Crystal Water Handicap over a mile on turf at Santa Anita in February, but was only fifth in the Sensational Star Handicap in March.

The Khaled will be the turf course debut of Autism Awareness, who won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows in March 2008. Apoplectic and Seminole Native are capable of running well, having finished second and third in their last starts. Seminole Native was third in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita in 2008.

The 2008 Snow Chief Stakes remains Harlene's only win in 17 starts. Trained by Doug O'Neill, he is winless in three starts this year, but did close ground in an allowance race for statebreds over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on April 4, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths.

To say it plainly, Harlene is a plodder, O'Neill admits.

"He doesn't really have a style," O'Neill said. "He doesn't have any explosive kick and he doesn't have any early speed. You're at the mercy of the race unfolding for him. With a mile and an eighth, we know the farther the better for him."

Medzendeekron will be reunited with jockey Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for a win in an allowance race over seven furlongs on the main track at Santa Anita on Feb. 14 and the Crystal Water Handicap.

"The two races that Garrett rode him were two of the best races of his career," trainer Barry Abrams said.

Medzendeekron did not display the same kick in the Sensational Star Handicap, closing from eighth in a field of nine to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind Liberian Freighter.

"I expect so much of him," Abrams said. "The first half was slow. They finished quickly, and he really didn't get into the race."

Abrams is supremely confident about Medzendeekron's chances in the Khaled, saying, "It's his race to lose."