CONTENTIOUS GROUP SET FOR A HUEVO

Awsome Faith
Awsome Faith scored a major upset in the West Virginia Breeders Classic. Photo by Coady Photography.

If Friday evening’s redrawn $50,000 A Huevo Stakes at Charles Town Races looks familiar, that’s no surprise: nine of the 10 who’d entered for the race last Saturday, when the card was canceled, are back.

And if the race looks a lot like October’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, that’s no surprise, either: the top eight finishers from that contest are among the nine entered in the nine-furlong A Huevo.

The lone newcomer is Maryland invader V. I. P. Ticket, who is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The Jerry O’Dwyer trainee has finished in the triple in seven consecutive races and last out was beaten just a head in an Aqueduct allowance.

V. I. P. Ticket has posted four of his five career victories at Charles Town and has placed in two stakes in his career. Gerald Almodovar has the mount.

The lukewarm morning line favorite is millionaire Runnin’toluvya (5-2). The six-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding is by far the most accomplished runner in the group; his resume includes a 10-race win streak in 2018-19 and a triumph in the 2019 edition of the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.

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But it also includes some puzzling disappointments, including a sixth-place finish last out in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic – the second straight year in which he was beaten at odds-on in that race. Christian Hiraldo will ride.

The most direct beneficiary of Runnin’toluvya’s head-scratcher was longshot Awsome Faith, who closed from last to win by a half-length at odds of 37-1. It was the first stakes win – in his 52nd career start – for the seven-year-old Jeff Allen trainee. He’ll be breaking from the far outside this evening – always a tricky ask – with regular pilot Antonio Lopez up. He’s 6-1 on the morning line.

The horse who may have run the best non-winning race in the Classic was Hero’s Man (8-1). The James Casey trainee set solid fractions without ever getting a break – the 1:12.76 time for six furlongs was more than 3.5 seconds faster to the same marker than the Distaff contested earlier on the card – and stayed on willingly to the end, finally giving in very late to be fourth, beaten less than two lengths.

Reshawn Latchman has the mount on a Charitable Man gelding who’ll break from the eight-hole. If he can avoid getting cooked in the front-end of a race that brings back all the players from his last, he has a chance to outrun his odds here.

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The place and show horses from the Classic also are here. Late-running runner-up Buff’s Eye View (9-2) didn’t miss by much in the Classic – just a half-length – and ran second last out in allowance company. Carlos Delgado will ride.

And trip-lover North Atlantic (5-1) sat a good trip off the early lick and actually made the lead late before settling for third. He won this event in 2017 and has never been worse than third in 11 tries at the trip. Arnaldo Bocachica will ride.

Castle Bound (30-1), Opera Nite (12-1), and Step Out Dancing (30-1) round out the field.

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