07/04/2012 10:11AM

Woodbine: Atlantic Hurricane, Roxy Gap square off in Friday turf sprint

Michael Burns
Atlantic Hurricane will prep for the July 29 Royal North Stakes in a turf sprint Friday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Atlantic Hurricane, last year’s Canadian champion female sprinter, heads a six-horse field Friday on the Woodbine turf in the six-furlong $89,400 allowance prep for the July 29 Royal North Stakes.

Atlantic Hurricane was a front-runner when she was claimed for a bargain $40,000 in June of last year 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 Stakes from just off the pace. She received a career-high 97 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 3 Bessarabian.

Atlantic Hurricane checked in third in her lone outing this year, which came in the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes. Simon said she went to the farm after that April 22 event.

“She was turned out for about 10 days, and since then she’s been back in training,” Simon said. “I just wanted to take my time with her. She’s had some nice breezes, and she’s worked better each time. She’s ready to go.”

Emile Ramsammy will ride Atlantic Hurricane for a partnership that includes Simon.

Roxy Gap has been the leading female sprinter on the grounds this year. She captured the six-furlong Whimsical in her second start of the year and then doubled up in the Grade 2 Hendrie Stakes.

Roxy Gap acquitted herself very well over soft turf June 2 in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes, finishing a prominent second to favored Marketing Mix. She went fast early in her five-furlong breeze in 1:02.40 on the Polytrack last Saturday.

Roxy Gap is coupled in the Melnyk Racing Stable entry with another Mark Casse trainee, Barracks Road.

Barracks Road missed most of 2011 after putting together a solid 2010 campaign that included two stakes scores going a mile on the grass. She was a front-running second in her second race off the shelf in the Zadracarta, a seven-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-breds.

Leading rider Patrick Husbands was named on both parts of the Melnyk entry.

Jenny’s So Great won 3 of 7 starts in 2011, including a sharp score in the Grade 3 Royal North. She has failed to hit the board in four outings this year, including a seventh after a layoff in the June 16 Zadracarta.

Luis Contreras will ride the stretch-running Jenny’s So Great for trainer Greg de Gannes.

Front-runners Sweet Starlet and Silent Serenity complete the field. Both have won twice at the meet.