How to bet Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park

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TwinSpires Staff

October 19th, 2018

Belmont Park (c) NYRA/Adam Mooshian/Adam Coglianese Photography

by Dick Powell


The New York-bred stakes action for Saturday’s Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park kicks off in the 2ND race – the Iroquois Stakes for fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

PICCO UNO (#10) (9-2) draws outside but has enough gate speed to use it to her best advantage. In last year’s renewal, she was cooked in a speed duel from post 1 but Irad Ortiz Jr. should be able to get her to relax from here. The horse for the course won on this track two starts back in fast time and Jason Servis wins 28 percent off medium rest.

PAUSEFORTHECAUSE (#1) (8-1) has won her last two starts by wide margins and now takes on stakes company. HIGHWAY STAR (#5) (5-2) has plenty of back class.

Win: #10
Exacta: #1, #5 with #10


Race 3 is the Mohawk Stakes for New York-breds going 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course. Chad Brown sends out OFFERING PLAN (#11) (8-5) off two good seconds against similar stakes company and should appreciate the move to the Widener. She was gaining last out behind BLACK TIDE (#9) (3-1), who went gate to wire on the inner turf course. Those two look like they will be able to separate themselves from the rest.

Exacta Box: #9, #11


Race 4, the Hudson Handicap, is a dirt sprint for older New York-breds going 6 1/2 furlongs. LONG HAUL BAY (#1) (5-1), a son of Quality Road who has improved in his three starts this year, goes for Brown in this contentious field of nine. Manny Franco will have to find some running room down on the rail on the main track with the bay four-year-old, who captured a Grade 3 going seven furlongs last year.

Jason Servis sends out EYE LUV LULU (#4) (9-2), who looks to be the speed in the Hudson. The seven-year-old gelding just missed by a neck in the 2017 running of this race and has been freshened since a fourth against allowances rivals at Saratoga on August 27.

MY BOY TATE (#5) (7-2) was off for six months after running extremely fast over the winter at Aqueduct. His two starts have been promising and if he breaks well, he should be right in it.

GOLD FOR THE KING (#8) (4-1) weakened last out on a muddy track at Saratoga in the John Morrissey Stakes, but posted three straight triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings before that.

Win: #1
Trifecta Box: #1, #4, #5, #8


Race 5 is the Ticonderoga Stakes for New York-bred filies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course.

In the Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga two months ago, LA MONEDA (#6) (8-5) got the jump on FIFTY FIVE (#7) (7-5) and was able to hang on by neck. I thought Fifty Five was the better horse that day since she made up a couple of lengths on the winner while extremely wide on the inner turf course. She then came back as the odds-on favorite to win the John Hettinger Stakes last out and looks to be the stronger of the pair of Brown trainees in here. Fifty Five, who captured last year’s Ticonderoga, has raced well on yielding, firm and good ground in her last three starts and gets Javier Castellano back in the irons.

Win: #7


Race 7 is the Maid of the Mist Stakes for New York-bred juvenile fillies going one mile on the main track. A dozen are entered and ELEGANT ZIP (#9) (4-1) is the pick.

She was a good second on a wet track at Saratoga going 5 1/2 furlongs then she came back there to break her maiden in fast time going three-quarters. Last out, the chestnut miss chased the runaway winner of the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes but held well in the stretch and looks like she can run near the pace and carry her speed for the full mile. Manny Franco rides back for trainer David Donk – 25 percent together the past two months. 

KEPT TRUE (#11) (6-1) rallied from just off the pace to win going away despite being bumped while making her career debut on October 3 at Belmont Park. I am not crazy about her coming back 17 days later but she can stalk from a wide draw. SADIE LADY (#3) (12-1) broke her maiden first out going gate to wire at six furlongs and now stretches out to a mile with first-time Lasix.

CARTWHEELIN LULU (#7) (7-2) was the front-end winner of the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes last out going seven furlongs when allowed to set a modest pace.

Win: #9
Exacta Key Box: #9 with #3, #7 and #11


Race 8 is the Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-bred juveniles going one mile on the main track. It attracted an overflow field of 16 and many have shown good gate speed.

It is impossible to predict any kind of trip in here so just based on form, I like BUSTIN HOFFMAN (#14) (12-1). He chased the pace last out in the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont and was no match for the wide-margin winner but still finished with energy and should be able to handle a mile.

BANKIT (#4) (8-1) is from the red-hot Steve Asmussen barn. He broke his maiden by a wide margin second time out at Saratoga, then missed by a nose in the Funny Cide Stakes a month later at the Spa. Last out, he acted up a bit at the gate and was stuck dueling on the rail before tiring at Belmont.

POPPY’S DESTINY (#1) (6-1) went gate to wire in his career debut at Saratoga then hung for second last out at Belmont after sitting off the pace. Javier Castellano is the perfect rider to try to find some running room in this bulky field.

Win/Place: #14


Race 9 is the Empire Distaff, a $250,000 race for New York-bred fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. A field of 12 has entered and I like TAKE CHARGE AUBREY (#2) (5-1).

She broke her maiden by over nine lengths here going this distance third time out, then did nothing in a two-turn stakes race at Finger Lakes. The Take Charge Indy filly beat first-level allowance foes going seven furlongs at Saratoga before missing by a nose in that track’s nine-furlong Fleet Indian Stakes after leading every step but the last. She prepped for this with an easy win on a muddy track here going this distance and gets in light with Javier Castellano.

Trifecta: #2 with All with All


Race 10 is the $300,000 Empire Classic for older New York-breds going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

SEA FOAM (#8) (12-1) is a three-year-old taking on older horses for the first time after winning the Albany Stakes at Saratoga two back and weakening in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) most recently at Remington Park. Christophe Clement has warmed up after a dull Saratoga meet and sends out this son of Medaglia d’Oro, who should get into a steady rhythm with Joel Rosario.

TWISTED TOM (#5) (10-1) won this race by three lengths last year but he came into that off two straight stakes wins. Unfortunately, the Creative Cause gelding has lost both of his starts this year, which are also his only starts since last year’s victory.

CAN YOU DIGGIT (#4) (7-2) has had a busy year and won the Evan Shipman Stakes last out going this distance at Saratoga. He can sit and pounce since there is enough pace in here to set it up for him.

CONTROL GROUP (#3) (9-2) has dangerous early speed.

Exacta Key Box: #8 with #3, #4, #5