02/20/2017 6:37PM

Caledonian slips past Even Thunder in Jimmy Winkfield

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Caledonian (inside) edges Even Thunder (6) to win the Jimmy Winkfield at Aqueduct on Monday.

What Monday’s Jimmy Winkfield at Aqueduct lacked in depth, having just five starters, it made up for with drama as Caledonian edged Even Thunder by a nose in a head-bobbing finish of gray 3-year-old sprinters.

Up until the finish the race seemed to be going inauspiciously for the winner, who was away last, and trapped behind horses on the inside, as favored Bavaro sped to the lead with fractions of 22.90 seconds and 46.80 in the six-furlong race.

As the field compacted leaving the far turn, it seemed as if Caledonian might lose valuable momentum as others rallied in the clear, but jockey Eric Cancel was able to find a seam in the stretch in which to propel Caledonian and the colt proved narrowly best over Even Thunder, who had rallied down the center of the track.

Sal The Turtle, between the two, was a half-length back in third, followed by Shoe Loves Shoe and Bavaro.

Caledonian, a son of Concord Point, was overlooked at 10-1 odds in the Jimmy Winkfield despite having won the Lost In the Fog Stakes on New Year’s Day, although that had not seemed a particularly strong renewal of the race.

"I knew there were better horses out there this time compared to last,” Cancel said. “I had to really get after him.”

In collecting $60,000 for his victory, he improved his earnings to $156,565 in five starts for owner Curragh Stables and trainer John Terranova.

Bavaro, favored at 6-5, turned in a race virtually as poor as his performance in the Gander Stakes, when he weakened to run last of four, beaten 22 1/4 lengths. Although he didn’t lose by such a large margin in the Jimmy Winkfield, finishing 15 lengths behind the winner, he still stopped badly despite making the lead in a sprint, a style he had used to win his first two starts.

Aqueduct is dark Thursday, typically a race day, following Monday’s Presidents Day card. Eight races are on tap when racing resumes Friday.