It is Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon, with Readtheprospectus the headliner in the marquee event of the day, the $250,000 Empire Classic.
There are seven stakes restricted to New York breds on the card with $1.25 million in purses up for grabs.
The Empire Classic drew a field of eight led by Readtheprospectus (2-1), the Chad Brown trainee coming into the race riding a seven race winning streak including a pair of stakes against state breds.
It took four tries for the gelding to break his maiden, finally doing it on the turf turf last October. Brown then put the gelding back on dirt, and he has been perfect since.
He zipped through his first two state bred allowance conditions, then stepped outside of the New York bred ranks to win a couple of optional claimers. In his last two starts he won the Commentator and Spite the Devil, both state bred stakes.
He faces seven foes including a couple of runners that are also very familiar with the winner’s circle.
Saratoga Snacks is the second choice on the morning line at 5-2 and has won six of his nine career starts including a pair of New York bred stakes. The Gary Sciacca trainee was the runner up in the Empire Classic last year.
Awesome Vision (4-1) has a couple of wins in state bred stakes company and is back on dirt after an eighth place finish in the Ashley T. Cole in his turf debut. The colt won the Saratoga Sunrise two back and won the Compelling Word back in March on the inner track at the Big A.
Three of the stakes are part of the early Pick 5 with a reduced takeout of 15%. We are faced with three chalks in those races.
Court Dancer is the even money chalk in the Joe A. Gimma, Wired Bryan is the 6-5 favorite in the Bertram Bongard and then Cluster of Stars will be the shortest price of the day as the 2-5 morning line favorite in the Iroquois.
I think we can beat at least one of those three chalks, and the other two races in the sequence are wide-open maiden races, so it looks as if the payoff will still be decent.
Starting today, Belmont Park now offers .50 trifectas on all races.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 11 The Empire Classic (Post time 5:45 ET)
8 Readtheprospectus 2-1
4 Awesome Vision 4-1
7 Saratoga Snacks 5-2
5 Zetterholm 8-1
Analysis: Readtheprospectus came off a 3 1/2 month break last out with a sharp win in the state bred Spite the Devil going a mile on the main track here as the chalk. The victory was his seventh in a row and second in stakes company. He has a win at nine furlongs, beating Alw-2 optional claimers outside of the state bred ranks three back in the slop. The Chad Brown trainee has put in solid works since his last outing and looks primed for a top effort here in just his third start since April. He should get a good pace set up.
Awesome Vision is back on dirt after failing to threaten last out in his turf debut in the state bred Ashley Cole. The colt won the Saratoga Sunrise two back at the Spa at this distance and has won two of his three starts at nine furlongs, the loss coming three back when he was beaten just a headed in the state bred Evan Shipman. He checked in third behind our top pick back in June here in the state bred Commentator, beaten 3 1/4 lengths for the top spot. The switch back to dirt should suit and among the top three in here this guy appears likely to offer the most value for the top spot.
Saratoga Snacks stretches back out to nine furlongs here after checking in third last out in the mud in the John Morrissey going 6 1/2 furlongs. The four year old had a rough trip despite the act it was just a four-horse field. He had a foe drift in on him causing to be in tight and had to check at the half mile pole, got going again and had to steady a couple of times again in the stretch. He has won three of his four trips over the main track and ran second in this race last year, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. He sports a couple of quick works and figures to be right in the mix early.
WIN: #8 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,8 / 4,5,7,8
TRI: 4,8 / 4,5,7,8 / 2,4,5,7,8
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