On a day devoted exclusively to New York-breds and the New York Thoroughbred Breeding & Racing Program, the Empire Classic (5:47 p.m.) will be the 10th and final race of the day and will be the last leg of a $400,000 guaranteed Pick 4 that will begin in the seventh race with the $125,000 Hudson Handicap.
And the weather is expected to be ideal.
The Empire Classic will cap this festive day, and trainer James Ferraro is hoping that Lorccan will show up with his best effort. Since he was claimed back in February for $25,000, the 4-year-old son of Aptitude has steadily improved as a player at Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Racecourse and has won on fast, sloppy and muddy tracks.
He loves Belmont Park, with three wins, a second and a third in nine tries, and has a win and a second in three starts at the Empire Classic distance.
“We got him back in February and thought he would be a good, useful horse, especially going long,” Ferraro said. “He was coming from out of it, but I guess that he is just getting better as he is getting older. He seems to understand what he’s doing.”
Lorccan put in a nice maintenance work last Saturday, going six furlongs in 1:15.69, breezing, on Aqueduct’s fast main track. He will carry 117 pounds, and get four pounds from R Clear Victory and three pounds from Dr. D.F.C., Tommasi and Stud Muffin in this 12-horse field.
Trainer Dominic Glaauscio is trying for an unprecedented third straight Empire Classic victory. In 2006, he won this race with Organizer and last year, he won it with Dr. V’s Magic, both for Majesty Stud. This time, he will go with Raffie’s Treasure, a three-year-old full sister to Dr. V’s Magic and the only filly nominated to the Empire Classic.
“Dr. V’s Magic has had some setbacks, so we’re going to try his sister in there,” Galluscio said. “She had a nice win the other day (October 1) and there are not a whole lot of other spots for fillies going long this time of year.”
Her six-length victory at a mile on October 1 again gave Raffie’s Treasure a chance to utilize her speed. She, too, has won on sloppy tracks and has also won at Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga. The daughter of Raffie’s Majesty-Treasure Always, by Summer Squall will also carry 114 pounds.
Dr. D.F.C, Stud Mufin and Tommasi are all strong threats here.
Dr. D. F. C., owned by August Forever Stable and Thomas Paluck won Saratoga’s nine-furlong Solomon Northup Stakes on August 9th, defeating Stud Muffin and Tommasi, and is consistently in the money for trainer Rodrigo Ubillo.
Stud Muffin, another successful claim, also has a fondness for Belmont Park, where the Raffie’s Majesty colt has two wins, a second and a third in five career starts. David Duggan trains.
Yet another of Raffie’s Majesty’s offspring, the 6-year-old gelding Tommasi, figures in this mix. He has a 3-1-3 record from 12 attempts at a mile and an eighth and was a three-length winner of Saratoga’s Loudonville on September 1.
That’srightofficer has yet to win at nine furlongs, but has two strong place finishes at the distance for trainer Richard Schosberg. R Clear Victory would also like to halt a pair of second-place finishes with a win here for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Completing the field is Spanky Fischbein, who has yet to win a race beyond seven furlongs, as well as Stunt Man, Almighty Silver, Love Abroad and Chowder’s First.