10/05/2005 11:00PM

A Huevo leads parade of top statebreds

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
A Huevo is the class of the Classic field, but is he ready go to 1 1/8 miles off a 10-month layoff at age 9?

Statebreds will be chasing more than $1 million in purses during the 19th annual West Virginia Breeders Classics on Saturday night at Charles Town.

Eight stakes worth a collective $1.2 million will contested at distances ranging from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, highlighted by the $500,000 Classic and the $250,000 Cavada for fillies and mares.

The presence of the seemingly ageless A Huevo could relegate the rest of the Classic field to race for second money.

The two previous times A Huevo has shown up for the Classic, he was much the best. He set a track record for 1 1/8 miles in the 1999 running, only to be disqualified later for a positive medication sample. Last fall, off just one slow prep, A Huevo crushed nine opponents, winning by 19 1/4 lengths.

But is A Huevo ready to go 1 1/8 miles off nearly a 10-month layoff at age 9?

hasn't raced since finishing last of 11 in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap at Calder last December. He shows only two workouts, the most recent a four-furlong bullet in 47.60 seconds Wednesday at Delaware Park, in preparation for his comeback.

Finding a viable alternative to A Huevo is difficult.

is a proven commodity at the distance and comes into the Classic in sharp form, having won his last two starts by a combined 9 3/4 lengths. He moves up substantially in class after facing nonwinners-of-three allowance runners nearly all year.

has won the last three starts he has made on dirt, including a prep for the Classic with a 93 Beyer Speed Figure on Sept. 10. The last time he tried to go beyond seven furlongs, he finished 35 1/2 lengths behind A Huevo in the 2004 Classic.

Slew's Smile, 8, carries a three-race winning streak into the Classic, all starter allowance races, after he was claimed for $5,000 in May. Slew's Smile is a 10-time winner at Charles Town but is 1 for 20 in stakes.

In a remarkable training feat by Michael Dickinson, A Huevo won the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash in his third start following a four-year layoff in the fall of 2003. Confucius Say, one of Charles Town's all-time greats, is attempting a similarly improbable comeback in race 4, the Dash for Cash at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Confucius Say, 10 for 15 lifetime at Charles Town, has not raced since winning the 1 1/8-mile Classic for the second year in a row in 2002. Now 7, Confucius Say will be cutting back to 4 1/2 furlongs for the first time since he won the restricted Blue Ridge Handicap in April 2002.

In his lone prep for his comeback, Confucius Say worked a bullet three furlongs in 36.80 seconds on Sept. 24.

The Dash for Cash favorite will be last year's winner, Not for Sam, who cruised by 8 3/4 lengths at odds of 1-5 in 2004.

Original Gold appears a solid gold selection to repeat in the Cavada for fillies and mares.

A three-length winner in last year's Cavada, the 5-year-old Original Gold prepped for this year's race by winning at seven furlongs on Sept. 10.

In the other stakes, all worth $75,000 apiece:

* Two winners from last year's Breeders Classics card, Earth Power and Five Star Account, clash in the Onion Juice for colts and geldings at seven furlongs. Earth Power wired the Onion Juice last year, while Five Star Account easily captured the seven-furlong West Virginia Lottery for 3-year-olds. Neither horse has won this year, however.

* Bryceslittlesecret, a winner of three straight in West Virginia since he was claimed for $50,000 in Kentucky last May, looks formidable in a group of 3-year-olds going seven furlongs in the West Virginia Lottery,

* The unbeaten Carnival Chrome, who was also nominated to the Cavada, will seek to go 5 for 5 as a standout choice in the West Virginia Division of Tourism for 3-year-old fillies.

* Two-time winners King Cohl and Brother Banks and impressive debut winner Alphabet Plunge are contenders in a competitive field for the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.

* Cross Creek Rosie, unbeaten in three starts, is a standout in the 4 1/2-furlong Triple Crown Nutrition for 2-year-old fillies.