New York breds take center stage on Saturday for Empire Showcase Day, eight stakes worth $1.75 million on an outstanding 11-race card at Belmont Park.
The marquee event of the day is the $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap, but with just a field of five lining up, the NYRA placed the race as the fifth on the day.
Pat On the Back is the 3-5 morning line favorite and defending champ. The Jeremiah Englehart trainee won the Kelso (G2) in his last outing on Sept. 21.
The $250,000 Empire Distaff Handicap is a much better wagering race. A field of 11 will line up to go a one turn mile on the main track.
The Linda Rice trained Newly Minted is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The filly won the state bred Fleet Indian in her last start on Aug. 23 at Saratoga by nine lengths.
Rice will also saddle Midnight Disguise (7-2) who has not started since running third in the state bred Dancing Renee in June.
“She’s coming off a layoff, she loves the distance, she loves Belmont,” Rice said of Midnight Disguise. “We’re excited to have her back.”
Bonita Bianca (10-1) is the defending champ of the Empire Distaff, winning by six lengths as the favorite last year. However, she has started six-times since winning the race last year and has not finished in the exacta in any of those outings.
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The Empire Distaff goes off as the 10th race on the 11-race card at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Empire Distaff Handicap Post time 5:20
1 Newly Minted 5-2
6 Out of Orbit 8-1
5 No Hayne No Gayne 12-1
10 Ratajkowski 3-1
The Rice trainee pressed the early pace and drew clear to win the state bred Feet Indian by nine lengths at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga last out off a two-month break. The filly has now won four of her five career starts with three stakes wins. She faces older for the first time here but looks capable of handling it. She draws the rail and owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers. The cut back to a one turn mile should suit her. She put in a good breeze on Sept. 27 and she will be tough in this spot.
Out of Orbit
This filly took the field gate to wire to win the state bred Saratoga Dew last out at nine furlongs at Saratoga. She did it over a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. She earned a career top speed fig last out despite racing against the bias and making her stakes debut. She has done some of her best running on the lead and it does not look like she will be on the lead here, but she should get a good trip sitting just off the pace unless Saez is intent on the lead. She has run pretty well at a mile and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough.
No Hayne No Gayne
She tracked the early pace and finish gamely to win the state bred Jack Betta Be Rite at Finger Lakes last out at 1 1/16 miles. Her three previous starts were outside of the state bred ranks and she ran into repeat winners in each of those outings including running fifth behind Dunbar Road three back. That filly has gone on to win the Mother Goose (G1) and Alabama (G1). The mare has a couple of wins over the main track here and Asmussen has been sending out live runners at the meeting, wining with 6 of his first 16 starters. She figures to get overlooked on the tote here and she looks as if the cut back to a one turn mile will suit her.
WIN: Newly Minted to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 1,6 / 1,5,6,10
TRIFECTA: 1,6 / 1,5,6,10 / 1,5,6,9,10