Empire Way, a full brother to 2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic winner Royal Delta, makes his stakes debut in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) on Thanksgiving Day at Hollywood Park Nov. 24.
Eight juveniles are in search of a first stakes victory in the Prevue. In fact, none of the youngsters entered in the seven-furlong Cushion Track test has yet to defeat winners.
Promising first-out maiden winners Empire Way and So Brilliant will vie for favoritism in the Prevue, which is the seventh race at 2:06 p.m. PST on the special holiday program.
Empire Way is by Empire Maker. His dam, Delta Princess, was a multiple graded stakes winner of $740,918. She sold for $2.6 million to Frank Stronach at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale Nov. 8.
Trained by Mike Harrington for owner Heinz Steinmann, Empire Way sold for $250,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training sale. In his debut at Hollywood Nov. 13, the dark/brown colt trailed his four rivals before turning it on in the stretch and blowing past late for a half-length victory while ridden out by jockey Joel Rosario.
Rosario is back aboard Empire Way and they will leave from post 4 in the Prevue.
So Brilliant, trained by Bob Baffert, led at every call in his bow Oct. 22 at Santa Anita, clearing off after an early speed duel to tally by 2 1/4 lengths. Arnold Zetcher owns So Brilliant, who brought $300,000 at the same Fasig-Tipton Florida sale that Empire Way went through. The gray/roan colt is by Medaglia d'Oro out of the Wekiva Springs mare Merry Me in Spring.
Martin Garcia, who rode So Brilliant in his debut, retains the mount. They break from post 6.
Olympia Star's Galex was second to Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle in the Jack Goodman Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 10. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the Flatter colt ran on late at odds of 18-1 to finish 5 1/4 lengths behind Secret Circle.
Galex broke his maiden at Golden Gate Fields in his debut June 10 and has two seconds in three stakes starts since.
Craig Family Trust's Sweet Swap weakened to fifth in the Goodman when well-bet following his front-running maiden debut victory at Del Mar in August for trainer John Sadler.
Hodge, from the Mike Machowsky barn, and the Mike Puype-trained Muchos Besos are last-out maiden winners.
$100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 2:06 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Sweet Swap (KY), G K Gomez, J W Sadler
2. Brother Francis (KY), V Espinoza, J M Cassidy
3. Sheer Talent (FL), K Stra, D L Hendricks
4. Empire Way (KY), J Rosario, M Harrington
5. Hodge (FL), M A Pedroza, M Machowsky
6. So Brilliant (KY), M Garcia, B Baffert
7. Galex (KY), R Bejarano, J Hollendorfer
8. Muchos Besos (KY), J Talamo, M Puype
All assigned 116 pounds.