'Losing A Huevo took a lot of glamour from the night'

October 16, 2005|By LARRY YANOS

There were a few surprises last Saturday at Charles Town Races & Slots, but maybe the biggest one of all was the fact all eight races of the West Virginia Breeders Classics card ran without a hitch.

With rain pelting the racing surface for the best part of Friday and Saturday, the large gathering was holding its collective breath on whether the eight-race card would be completed Saturday.

Ironically, the only horse to "break down" was A Huevo - the defending champion in the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic.


The 9-year-old gelding was pulled up lame by jockey Ramon Dominguez rounding the first turn of the 1 1/8-mile feature and was euthanized.

"A real shame," West Virginia Breeders Classics president Sam Hufff said. "It was a great evening of racing but losing A Huevo took a lot of glamour from the night. He was a great horse, everybody loved him."

A Huevo was a 1-2 favorite in the race.

He won six of 12 career starts and earned $389,750. The horse missed his 4-, 5- and 6-year-old seasons with nagging injuries and had not raced since last December.

In fact, A Huevo had raced only twice between the 2004 win and the 2005 appearance.

The thoroughbred was owned by Mark Hopkins and trained by Michael Dickinson.

"The horse took a bad step and I had to pull him up," Dominguez said. "It's devastating to have any horse break down with you and worse when it is a horse you are attached to and a horse you have had a lot of success with."

Jockeys enjoy success

Jockeys Anthony Mawing and Travis Dunkelberger enjoyed outstanding success during the West Virginia Breeders Classics weekend.

On Saturday, Mawing won the featured $500,000 race aboard Speed Whiz and the $75,000 West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic aboard King Cohl and finished second in both the West Virginia "Onion Juice" Breeders Classic aboard Five Star Account and the $250,000 Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic aboard Alaska Ash.

On Friday, he won the $75,000 H.B.P.A. City of Ransom Handicap aboard Miss Hamma.

"I liked my horse," Mawing said of the feature winner Speed Whiz. "I knew he liked the distance and I was confident. A Huevo was the question mark in the race, but I still felt we had a big chance to win."

Mawing and the 4-year-old gelding broke a step slow but quickly got into contention and, turning for home, it was just a matter of overtaking stablemate Slew's Smile for the win.

Mawing, who owned a previous Breeders Classic feature aboard Cape Power in 2003, said the racetrack held up well.

"Of course there was some concern, with all the rain, but horses handled the track well for the most part both nights," Mawing said.

n On Saturday, Dunkelberger won the $250,000 Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic aboard Original Gold and the $75,000 West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders Classic aboard Bravura and finished third aboard Sheckatoo in the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic.

On Friday, Dunkelberger won the $75,000 H.B.P.A. City of Charles Town Handicap aboard Outcashem and, on Sunday, won the $75,000 H.B.P.A. Governor's Cup aboard Cherokee's Boy.

The horse broke the track record with a time of 1:49.88 for the 1 1/8-mile distance.

Pony tales

Huff faced a difficult decision last Saturday.

After attending the Breakfast of Champions, the NFL Hall of Famer decided to join the Washington Redskins on their flight to Denver later in the day and miss the Classics.

"I was originally booked on a flight Sunday morning but with all the airport delays, I thought it was better for me to leave Saturday with the team," the Redskins' broadcaster said.

n Joseph P. Pons Sr., patriarch of a family thoroughbred farm that featured the likes of Cigar and Carry Back, died last Wednesday of a heart attack at his Bel Air home. He was 83.

Pons' Country Life Farm is Maryland's oldest commercial thoroughbred breeding farm. Cigar was the 1995 and 1996 Horse of the Year and Carry Back won the 1961 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Pons' father, Adolphe Pons, founded Country Life Farm in 1933. When his father died in 1951, Pons ran the family's commercial thoroughbred operation for nearly 50 years with his older brother.

n Veteran trainer Neil Howard gained his 1,000th career victory last Wednesday when Soul Search captured the seventh race at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

Howard, a 56-year-old native of Riverdale, N.Y., who now resides in Louisville, Ky., was joined in the winner's circle by longtime owner William S. Farish, the former ambassador to St. James Court.

Howard has trained a long list of outstanding horses in his career, including 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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