North Atlantic gets jump, secures A Huevo victory
by Frank Vespe
For the second straight race, North Atlantic got the jump on his rival Charitable Annuity in last night’s $50,000 A Huevo Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
This time, he had enough to turn that advantage into a victory.
North Atlantic, with Arnaldo Bocachica up, took the lead with less than a furlong to go and went on to win by a length over Prince of Windsor, who led from the early going. Charitable Annuity’s late run left him third, a length-and-a-quarter away.
A month ago, in the $350,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic, North Atlantic and Charitable Annuity were two-thirds of a three-horse photo, with the latter getting the nod to post his second Classic win in three years. North Atlantic was second, and Weekend Liberty was third that day.
But the story was a different one today, and that played out to North Atlantic’s advantage. While the Classic had plenty of early pace — the opening half-mile that night went in 47 4/5 seconds — on Saturday the field dawdled through an opening half in a tepid 49 2/5.
Prince of Windsor, the Ollie Figgins trainee with Guillermo Rodriguez up, held a short lead over longshot Royal Blue at that point, and he maintained a narrow lead over a challenge from Rocket Road after three-quarters in 1:14.52 — versus 1:13 flat in the Classic.
North Atlantic, three wide on the turn, made his bid nearing the three-eighths and cleared inside the furlong grounds. Charitable Annuity and pilot Christian Hiraldo enjoyed an inside trip most of the way but were a bit slower to get into stride. When Charitable Annuity, the two-time defending champ in this event, did get rolling, it was too late.
Final running time for the A Huevo was 1:53.46, a touch slower than the Classic. North Atlantic paid $5.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice; Charitable Annuity was 1.10-1. The exacta, with 20-1 Prince of Windsor in second, was good for $79.20.
It was the first stakes win for North Atlantic, a Ghostzapper gelding trained by leading trainer Jeff Runco, He was bred and is owned by Runco’s Coleswood Farm. He now has seven wins from 22 career starts and earnings of $235,740.