06/19/2012 3:16PM

Hollywood Park: Orientatious may be vulnerable at short price

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Benoit & Associates
Orientatious will make her first start in 11 months on Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The good sprinter Orientatious is easy to like when she returns Thursday from an 11-month layoff with fast works and the highest speed figures in the second-level allowance for fillies and mares.

But there are two sides to a story, sometimes more. Enter the skeptics.

Orientatious is easy to wager against Thursday. Unraced since July, she will not have worked in 15 days and trains on dirt at Santa Anita but will race on synthetic at Betfair Hollywood Park. Finally, 6 1/2 furlongs is beyond her established ability.

So is Orientatious a solid favorite, or is she vulnerable at a short price?

Five entered the $55,000 allowance in which Orientatious is the horse to beat. That does not mean she is the horse to bet. Mike Puype trains Orientatious; Bob Baffert entered Sparkling Style and Glamorista. The outsiders are Gem of Soul and True Way of Grace.

Orientatious was sidelined with an unspecified setback after a big allowance victory in July at Del Mar, her second win from three starts. Orientatious earned a 95 Beyer drawing away from Home Sweet Aspen and Teddy’s Promise; both later won Grade 1’s.

Puype pointed Orientatious to a six-furlong allowance June 14, but the race did not fill. The race was re-scheduled for a later date, and uncertainty on when it would be run put the filly’s workout schedule in limbo.

“The race has been dragging,” Puype said. “When races don’t go on target, it’s hard to adjust. But she trains hard enough; she’s had a lot of hard works.”

After the distance was lengthened to 6 1/2 furlongs, a field of five finally entered.

Orientatious has not raced beyond six furlongs, and the distance change may benefit Sparkling Style. She has won back-to-back seven-furlong races at the Hollywood meet, trains over the track, and worked five furlongs June 15. The most recent work for Orientatious was June 6 at Santa Anita.

Orientatious is stabled at Santa Anita with Puype assistant and exercise rider Manny Landeros.

“I keep her with him, because she’s tough to handle,” Puype explained. “He’s been with me off and on for 20 years, and he’s a really good hand. She’s a harder horse to handle than most.”

She also is the fastest in the Thursday field based on speed figures, and Puype expects Orientatious to return with a big effort. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Orientatious in all three starts last year, including a daylight maiden win at Hollywood, is back aboard Thursday.

Joe Talamo rode Sparkling Style to consecutive victories this meet for Baffert, and her recent-racing edge makes her the legitimate alternative to the favorite.