Hunting, a Stuart S. Janney III homebred and the longest price in a field of six, ran down 2-1 favorite Utopia in the final yards of the $108,500 Stuyvesant Handicap (gr.III) (VIDEO) at Aqueduct to win by a length Nov. 17.
The 4-year-old gelded son of Coronado's Quest, ridden by Alan Garcia, raced near the back of the pack for six furlongs in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race. As expected, Barcola set the pace, carving fractions of :24.05, :47.59, and 1:10.95. With a furlong remaining, Utopia assumed the lead from the tiring Barcola and appeared on his way to victory, but Hunting got busy in the stretch and took aim on the favorite. The final time was 1:48.08 over a fast track.
Evening Attire, who hesitated at the start and broke several lengths behind the field, made an energized late run to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Utopia. Who What Win, Awfully Smart, and Barcola completed the order of finish. Hunting , who was making his stakes debut, returned $21. The Hunting and Utopia exacta paid $89; the trifecta returned $287.
In his start prior to the Stuyvesant, the Shug McGaughey trainee won a second-level allowance in the slop at Monmouth Park Oct. 26. With his win in the Stuyvesant, he has earnings of $195,650 and a 4-3-0 record from 11 starts.
“He has been doing pretty good; his last race was a good race,” McGaughey said. “Alan rode him great. I think the secret to him is to just let him drop back. They went slow the first quarter, but they picked it up from there. I told my wife, Allison, around the middle of the far turn that he was going to fire. It was just a matter of whether they would come back to him. I think he beat a pretty nice horse in Utopia, so I’m pretty pleased with his progression.”
McGaughey said Aqueduct's $100,000 Queens County (gr.III), run Dec. 8, is a possibility for Hunting’s next race.