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Downrange/Empire Line Win

Downrange under Tyler Gaffalione (Cogilianese photo)

January 17, 2018 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

Two WPT 3-year-olds found the winner’s circle on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In early afternoon, first-time starter Downrange overcame a slow break from the rail to prevail at first asking for trainer Ralph Nicks. Knowing Ralph’s strong stats with firsters, we can’t believe this gelded son of Field Commission was dispatched at 9/1!

We have several first-time owners involved with this horse and are thrilled to see them in the winner’s circle. The Florida-bred is now starter allowance eligible, which is a great plus when facing winners for the first time! He was the steal of the 2017 OBS March Sale. There’s no doubt Field Commission is an obscure sire, but this horse worked well, is a good physical, and was quite simply overlooked.

A handsome chestnut with lots of chrome, we love the splash of white over his right stifle area!

Less than an hour later, Empire Line made it two for two with a narrow win in the $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-breds. The race was originally carded for New Year’s Eve, but rescheduled due to the bad weather in New York that included the “bomb cyclone.”

Several WPT Partners braved the cold and stood bundled up with their undefeated colt in the Aqueduct winners’ circle. Amongst the owners of the colt are members of our Young Professionals Initiative. This was created by our own team of young professionals to give the "under 40" crowd the opportunity to get involved in a group of high potential racehorses for a modest investment.

Trained by George Weaver, the West Point buying team selected the son of Morning Line at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale held just after the Preakness outside of Baltimore. Shortly after the colt was purchased, coach Rick Pitino contacted us to buy a half-interest and campaigns the colt under RAP Racing.

Wondering how he got his name? The “Empire Line” is another name for the train that runs from Albany to New York City that many of our team members and Partners use to get to Belmont and Aqueduct.