Empire Dreams Wins the $300,000 Empire Classic
New York Derby winner Empire Dreams secured a solid stakes win of similar stature as a four-year-old by taking the $300,000 Empire Classic for New York-breds Saturday at Belmont Park. The son of Patriot Act finally got his dream trip behind a hot pace set by the battling Saratoga Snacks and Warrioroftheroses.
Empire Dreams went the widest of all coming out of the turn and ran down the leaders while simultaneously holding off a significant challenge from the equally determined Royal Posse. Empire Dreams finished the race in a snappy 1.48.35 for the one mile and one-eighth contest on Belmont's dirt track.
"He came into the race doing really well, a little time off helped him as well," said trainer Tom Albertani. "Manny gave him a perfect ride, just nice and patient. There was a good pace in front of us and he just reeled them in. He's always run well at Belmont and we got what we needed today. We got the right pace. He loves this track, so it just worked out."
Winning jockey Manny Franco said, "I waited a little bit more because of a mile and an eighth. When I made my move, I knew I had a lot of horse."
"We absolutely love the New York-bred program," said West Point Thoroughbreds President and Founder Terry Finley. "We work hard to find horses like Empire Dreams who has consistently demonstrated he belongs among the best of his peers. I tell many of our prospective partners that jumping into the game with New York breds gives you a chance to have a ton of fun, and we saw exactly how much fun today at this special event honoring New York's best equine athletes."
The Empire Classic was the featured stakes race on Empire Showcase Day that offered eight stakes races exclusive to New York-bred horses totaling $1.3 million in purses.
This is the fourth stakes win for Empire Dreams who won the NYSS Great White Way Division Stakes at age two, the New York Derby at age three, and the Commentator Stakes earlier this year. He's banked $674,000 lifetime earnings to date with five wins, six seconds, and two thirds from 17 career starts.