01/28/2017 4:33PM

Power Alert barely reaches wire first in Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint

Barbara D. Livingston
Power Alert (right) and Julien Leparoux nips Rainbow Heir and Trevor McCarthy in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Power Alert loves the turf course at Gulfstream Park – as well as its photo-finish camera.

The gray 7-year-old Power Alert  remained unbeaten in five starts over the Gulfstream course when he held on to defeat Rainbow Heir in the 12th running of the $125,000 Gulfstream Turf Sprint on the Pegasus World Cup undercard Saturday. Four of his local wins have been by less than a length, with this latest margin being no more than an inch.

“I thought maybe we got beat when I watched the replay,” said trainer Brian Lynch, who co-owns Power Alert with the AJ Suited Racing Stable. “But then I had a gut feeling that maybe our head was down and the other horse’s was up. I’m just so proud of this horse and how he shows up on the big days.”

Always in striking position with a comfortable outside trip under Julien Leparoux, Power Alert wore down front-running Pay Any Price in deep stretch before Rainbow Heir and jockey Trevor McCarthy came with a threatening run. It was one of those head-bob finishes that had fans talking about a dead heat.

“When did I know I’d won?” said Leparoux. “When I got right back here to the winner’s circle.”

Long On Value rallied to finish third, while favored Manhattan Dan finished last after failing to make the early lead.

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Power Alert finished the five-furlong distance in 54.90 seconds over firm turf and returned $8.60 as second choice in a field of 12 older horses. He won the 2016 running of the Gulfstream Turf Sprint by a neck.

Power Alert was shipped to the U.S. from his native Australia in 2014 and has won 7 of 16 starts in this country for earnings of more than $500,000. Lynch also hails from Australia and is especially tickled whenever the horse runs big.

“He’s from the same small town I grew up in,” said Lynch.

The $2 exacta (11-1) paid $42.60, the $1 trifecta (11-1-3) returned $101.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (11-1-3-9) was worth $98.33.

The Turf Sprint led off an all-stakes pick four wager that drew more than $2 million in handle. Overall handle for the race exceeded $4.6 million.