10/06/2006 11:00PM

Henny Hughes highly impressive


ELMONT, N.Y. - Henny Hughes, the only 3-year-old in the field, showed no respect for his elders Saturday, roaring to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $400,000 at Belmont Park, and confirming his status as the favorite for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

Under John Velazquez, Henny Hughes broke a little flat-footed while Attila's Storm left the gate like a rocket under Cornelio Velasquez. Henny Hughes was content to sit off Attila's Storm before taking over in upper stretch and drawing away for the win, his third in as many starts this year.

War Front rallied to get second by a half -length over Attila's Storm. Who's the Cowboy finished fourth while Silver Train, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint champion and confirmed Belmont Park horse-for-course, finished last.

"What he did today was impressive and we'll move on to Nov. 4 full of confidence,'' said Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Henny Hughes.

McLaughlin said he was supremely confident entering the King's Bishop on Aug. 26 at Saratoga, a Grade 1 race Henny Hughes won by 5 1/4 lengths. McLaughlin said entering Saturday's race he was "leaking a little bit of confidence because that was a big, big effort.''

Attila's Storm, making his first start since Jan. 21, outbroke Henny Hughes and shot to the lead while running an opening quarter in 22.34 seconds. Henny Hughes quickly caught up and was content to sit off of Attila's Storm until Velazquez asked him to run turning for home. Henny Hughes ($3.80), a son of Hennessy owned by Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum, ran six furlongs in 1:08.13.

"He relaxed really good,'' Velazquez said. "I was telling Kiaran I let the other one go, I went to the outside of him, I took a good hold of him, and he relaxed right next to [Attila's Storm]. He doesn't need to be on the lead. He showed that he can do anything. That was impressive.''

Silver Train had won his last five starts - all stakes - at Belmont, but never lifted a hoof in the Vosburgh.

"He was done early,'' trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. "We'll check him out.''

Silver Train is unlikely to try and defend his BC Sprint title on Nov. 4.

Attila's Storm, who finished fourth in the Sprint last year, will move on to the Sprint, trainer Richard Schosberg said.

"The winner certainly deserves to be the heavy favorite," Schosberg said. "Obviously he ran a great race, but I think we'll have a little more for him down at Louisville."