04/20/2012 11:34AM

Woodbine: Atlantic Hurricane gets season going in Whimsical Stakes

Michael Burns
Atlantic Hurricane clinched a Sovereign Award with this victory in the Grade 3 Bessarabian.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Atlantic Hurricane capped her sensational 2011 campaign with a dominating performance in the Grade 3 Bessarabian Stakes, a victory that helped her to nail down the Sovereign Award for Canadian female champion sprinter. On Sunday at Woodbine she’ll try to pick up right where she left off last year in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes, a six-furlong sprint worth $150,000.

Atlantic Hurricane was a front-runner when she was claimed for a bargain $40,000 last June by trainer Stuart Simon. She subsequently won two optional claimers on the grass, along with the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes on the Polytrack.

After finishing a distant third Oct. 1 in the Avowal Stakes, Atlantic Hurricane took the six-furlong Ontario Fashion Stakes and the seven-furlong Bessarabian from just off the pace. She received a career high 97 Beyer Figure in the Bessarabian.

Simon said he sent Atlantic Hurricane to Ocala for the winter.

“She breezed a few times there, and then came back here in the middle of March,” Simon said. “She had a nice lay-up, and some nice spring training. She seems as good as ever right now. When they run really good at the end of the year, part of you is enticed to go on, but I’m really happy with our decision to give her time off, the way she is right now.”

Simon said he enjoyed seeing Atlantic Hurricane employ a stalking style in her two last two outings, and is intending on stretching her out this year.

“She had gotten a little speed-crazy, and it was nice to see her relax again and not have to go to the lead,” Simon said. “I really think that she’ll run farther. She won at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf before. I thought we’d start here, and see where it takes us, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her run a mile on the turf. I think she’ll even go two turns, but I just don’t know if I’ll get to that stage. Sometimes, I think six furlongs is a little short for her.”

Regular rider Emile Ramsammy is recovering from an injury, and sub Gerry Olguin will break Atlantic Hurricane from post 4.

“He worked her a couple times this spring,” said Simon.

Kitty in a Tizzy, who wintered at Palm Meadows with trainer Jim Bond, is starting for the first time since a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters in September. She won a first-level allowance here before ending up second in the 2010 Duchess Stakes.

Honey Chile is the other U.S.-based runner in the 10-horse field. She was cross-entered in Saturday’s Giant’s Causeway Stakes on the grass at Keeneland.