12/11/2011 2:52PM

Aqueduct: Sam Sparkle ends 12-racing losing streak in Hunch


Trainer Gary Contessa wasn’t planning on running Sam Sparkle in Sunday’s $60,000 Hunch Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct and only did so when a first-level allowance race didn’t fill.

Contessa was glad he was talked into the change of plans when Sam Sparkle, under Mike Luzzi, ran by 3-5 favorite Crossbow in the final strides to win the Hunch by one-half length. Crossbow, who dueled for a half-mile with longshot Freudian Dilemma, finished second by one length over Parent’s Honor. Freudian Dilemma was last. Mysticism and Bug Juice scratched.

 The win was just the second from 14 career starts for Sam Sparkle. He had lost 12 consecutive races since winning his debut, also over Aqueduct’s inner track, on March 26.

It was Luzzi’s  second win of the meet, both in stakes. He won the Vodka Stakes aboard Dr Disco, another 3-year-old sprinter, on Dec. 4.

Sam Sparkle settled about six to eight lengths off the pace as Crossbow, under Channing Hill, and Freudian Dilemma, under Oliver Castillo, dueled through a quarter mile in 22.63 seconds and a half-mile in 45.17.

Crossbow put away Freudian Dilemma inside the three-sixteenths pole and looked as though he was going to win before Sam Sparkle wore him down. Sam Sparkle, a 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Too Much Bling owned in a partnership headed by Dr. Jerry Bilinksi, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.38 and returned $16.

Contessa said he was hoping Freudian Dilemma could put pressure on Crossbow and said “he went a lot further with that horse than I thought he would.’’

As a Florida-bred, Sam Sparkle would be eligible for the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream on Jan. 28. Contessa said he would keep the horse in New York.

"We’ll stay here for the Aqueduct millions,’’ Contessa said, referring to the soon-to-be inflated purses from casino revenue. “He likes this track. Only at Aqueduct in the winter could you say I went in a stakes because the a-other-than didn’t go.’’

 Ortiz to serve suspension

 Apprentice Irad Ortiz Jr., who won four races on Saturday’s card, will serve a seven-day suspension beginning Wednesday after dropping an appeal of a careless riding infraction that occurred at Saratoga on Aug. 17.

Ortiz entered Sunday’s card as the third leading rider at the inner track meet with 11 wins.