According to Joe DeVivo of the Daily Racing Form, Hugo is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $50,000 John D. Marsh Stakes at Colonial Downs, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint restricted to Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired horses (on Satruday). But though he hails from the perennially successful summer-meet barn of Hamilton Smith, Hugo may be a vulnerable underlay.
The 4-year-old Hugo was a dull seventh in his return from a six-month layoff two weeks ago and Smith is a weak 1 for 24 with turf sprinters making their second start off an extended layoff, according to DRF's Formulator.
Handicappers looking for a viable alternative at a possible juicy price might take a long look at 10-1 Powder Mountain. A wire-to-wire winner in his turf debut last August, the 3-year-old Powder Mountain shows two recent four-furlong bullet workouts at Laurel Park for high-percentage trainer Rodney Jenkins.
Also intriguing are So Vain (pictured above), a filly who crushed colts in a dirt sprint stakes locally as a 2-year-old last August, and Native Playboy, a winner of 3 of 5 starts who sports a good 309 Tomlinson rating for his turf debut for 24-percent trainer Mike Pino.