09/29/2012 4:33PM

Finger Lakes: Switch to dirt sprint no problem for West Hills Giant in New York Breeders' Futurity

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Tom Cooley Photography
Jose Espinoza guides West Hills Giant, making his first start in a main-track sprint, to victory in the richest race of the Finger Lakes season, the New York Breeders' Futurity.

West Hills Giant, whose only two previous career races were turf routes, successfully handled the transition to a dirt sprint to capture Saturday’s $247,338 New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes.

Ridden by Jose Espinoza for trainer John Terranova, West Hills Giant ($15.40) had to overcome a stumbling start that put him last. He advanced to third, 1 1/2 lengths off the lead, through a half-mile in 46.07 seconds. Espinoza urged his mount to give his best run during a four-wide move turning for home. West Hills Giant took control in the stretch to score by 1 1/4 lengths. The winning time for  six furlongs over a fast track was 1:12.81.

A New York-bred son of Frost Giant owned by a partnership of Robert Castelli, Andrew Cohen, and Gina  Bentivegna, West Hills Giant’s last four workouts were also on turf. His last recorded workout on dirt came July 26 at Saratoga’s training track, where he went five furlongs in 1:03.  He came into the Futurity off a head victory in a 1 1/16-mile turf race for maidens at Saratoga on Sept. 3.

In Harm’s Way, the 4-5 favorite, finished second, a neck in front of  Saint Arthur.

* Our Pedroia ($12.40), adding Lasix after finishing second in his career debut, scored a four-length victory in the $50,600 Curlin Stakes for New York-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings.

* Matchmadeinheaven ($3.60), who upset the $124,000 Lady Finger in her first lifetime start, made it 2 for 2 by taking the $51,100 Rachel Alexandra for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies by 1 1/3 lengths..