01/15/2013 2:31PM

Oaklawn Park: Bet the Power drops in class, draws better post

Horseprints Inc.
Bet the Power finishes first in the Hockessin at Delaware Park, a race in which he was disqualified and placed second for interference.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Bet the Power will break from post 5 in Thursday’s featured eighth race at Oaklawn, a better post than in his last start, when he broke from the rail in the $350,000 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

“That will help us,” trainer Kenny Smith said of the draw.

Thursday’s card is the first since flash flooding forced Oaklawn to cancel its Saturday and Sunday programs. Bet the Power leads a six-horse field in the eighth, a $55,000 optional claimer to be run over six furlongs. Others set to start include Outta Tune, winner of last meet’s Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap who starts for the claiming price, and Laurie’s Rocket, a stakes winner who was third in the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland in October.

Bet the Power finished sixth in the De Francis Dash. He dueled early and finished three lengths behind winner Action Andy, who has since won the Pelican at Tampa and finished third in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

Bet the Power has turned in some sharp local works for his return, including a bullet half-mile in 47.40 seconds Dec. 14 at Oaklawn. The outside draw might give jockey Alex Cintron some different options than last time, when Bet the Power had to use his speed from the rail in the large De Francis Dash field of 11.

“I thought he ran good last time,” Smith said of Bet the Power. “It was a tough race. He had the one-hole and we were up on the pace more than we wanted to be and didn’t have the finish.”

Bet the Power dueled through fractions of 22 seconds for the opening quarter, 45.40 for the half-mile, and 57.80 for five furlongs. He had come into the race off one of the best efforts of his career, a Delaware Park allowance sprint win for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. One start prior, Bet the Power finished first in the $60,000 Hockessin at Delaware Park but was disqualified and placed second for impeding a rival. A return to stakes action this meet at Oaklawn is a goal for Bet the Power, said Smith, who trains the horse for Alan Copeland and Ruth Culley.

Outta Tune, who rose from $4,000 claimer to $250,000 Count Fleet winner, is a perfect 4 for 4 at Oaklawn. He last raced at Fair Grounds on Dec. 19, finishing third in a $10,000 optional claimer. Outta Tune will remove blinkers Thursday.