12/02/2016 4:24PM

Even Thunder shows he belongs with King's Swan win

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Even Thunder (right) wins the King's Swan Stakes under Jose Ortiz on Friday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Even Thunder passed his class test Friday at Aqueduct. Next up, a stamina exam.

Even Thunder, a stakes winner at Canterbury in his most recent start, handled his New York debut, holding off Petrov to win Friday’s $100,000 King’s Swan Stakes for juveniles by a head. It was 3 3/4 lengths back to The Walk in third. La Cat Warrior, the 8-5 favorite, and Hotfoot completed the order of finish.

The King’s Swan was originally scheduled for Nov. 25, but didn’t have enough entries to be carded. In fact, Even Thunder was the only horse entered then.

Neither the week delay nor an awkward break hindered Even Thunder, a gelding by Even the Score who was purchased privately by D J Stables and turned over to Joe Orseno following his Canterbury stakes win on Sept. 17.

Breaking from the outside post Friday, Even Thunder was carried out at the break by Hotfoot, who had been bothered by The Walk out of the gate. Even Thunder, under Jose Ortiz, quickly recovered, and stalked the pace-setting La Cat Warrior through a quarter of 23.25 seconds and a half-mile in 46.65.

Straightening away in the lane, Even Thunder took the lead, and maintained a two-length advantage until the sixteenth pole, when Petrov began cutting into the margin before running out of ground.

Even Thunder covered the six furlongs in 1:11.12 and returned $7.40 as the third choice. Even Thunder is now 3 for 5 in his career.

“I didn’t want to be too close, but he put me there,” said Ortiz, who won four of the first five races on Friday’s card. “I was sitting with a ton of horse at the three-eighths pole so I kind of waited. When I passed the quarter pole I went.”

Ortiz had to keep after Even Thunder in the stretch, possibly because he was getting a little tired, having not run in 11 weeks.

“I didn’t punish him to have him ready, and we think he has a future,” Orseno said. “I’m always looking ahead, so I’m trying to keep something in the tank. We didn’t drill him, but we wanted to make sure he was ready.”

Orseno and Jonathan Green, part of D J Stables with his father, Leonard, said Even Thunder would likely stretch out in distance for his next start, perhaps in the Grade 3, $150,000 Jerome Stakes going a mile and 70 yards over Aqueduct’s inner track on Jan. 2.