It seems as if trainer Chad Brown is popping up everywhere these days. Coming off a run of graded stakes victories on the turf, Brown now turns his attention to New York-breds, sending out Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Readtheprospectus in the $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap Oct. 19, the feature event on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park.
All this 4-year-old gelding by Read the Footnotes–Near Bethany, by Affirmed, has accomplished recently is win his last seven races, including victories in the state-bred Commentator and Spite The Devil Stakes in his most recent start Sept. 19. Prior to that, he won back-to-back allowance/optional claimers in open company.
"He's put a nice streak together for us and we hope he's got another one in him," said Brown. "By the looks of it, he's training well. I think he'll be fine at 1 1/8 miles, plus he has the prep race under his belt."
Unlike his earlier victories, which were on or close to the pace, Readtheprospectus came from sixth and last in the Spite The Devil to take the lead in deep stretch and win by a half-length.
"He can adjust to the pace very, very well," said Brown. "We'll just do more of the same with him, telling the jockey to put the horse wherever he is comfortable."
Readtheprospectus, bred by Howard Nolan Jr., drew the outside post in the eight-horse field. He will carry top weight of 124 pounds and will have regular rider Junior Alvarado aboard.
Directly inside him will be his main competition, Saratoga Snacks, who has never been out of the money in nine career starts. The 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat , owned by August Dawn Farm, has won six races, including the state-bred Alex Robb and Shy Groom stakes. Second in last year’s Empire Classic, Saratoga Snacks will be making only his third start this year and is coming off a third-place finish in the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Joel Rosario, who was aboard for both his starts this year, will be back in the saddle under 122 pounds for trainer Gary Sciacca.
"I like the post," said Sciacca. "He can just sit right off of them and go at his own pace. I hope it works out great."
One interesting horse in the race is Winter Park Partners’ Zetterholm, who has made only one start this year, a fifth in the Saratoga Sun Stakes at Saratoga. The son of Silver Train was coming off a 14-month layoff, having been injured just when he was starting to make his presence felt, finishing fourth in both the Preakness (gr. I) and Dwyer (gr. II) stakes. He tuned up for the Empire Classic with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 for trainer Michelle Nevin, former assistant to Rick Dutrow. He gets in with 116 pounds under Luis Saez.
The winner of the Saratoga Sun, Awesome Vision, also will contest the Empire Classic following a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Ashley T. Cole Stakes on the turf Sept. 15. The son of Awesome Again returns to the dirt, where he’s won six of his 11 career starts.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, he will break from post 4 under Irad Ortiz Jr. and will carry 120 pounds.
Warrioroftheroses and Zetterholm are also entered in races Oct. 18 at Charles Town and Belmont, respectively.
Rounding out the field are Moneyinyour Pocket, winner of his last two in allowance company at Finger Lakes; Spa City Fever, runnerup in the Spite The Devil Stakes; and Bigger is Bettor, runnerup in the Saratoga Sun Stakes and winner of the Evan Shipman Stakes July 13.
$250,000 Empire Classic (Race 11, app. Post time 5:45 (EDT), 3YOs and Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP.Horse,Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Bigger is Bettor (NY), A.S. Arroyo, 120, R. Ubillo
2. Spa City Fever (NY), D. Cohen, 118, D. Jacobson
3. Moneyinyour Pocket (NY), J. Velazquez, 115, C. Baker
4. Awesome Vision (NY), I. Oriz Jr., 120, T. Albertrani
5. Zetterholm (NY), L. Saez, 116, M. Nevin
6. Warrioroftheroses (NY), J. Castellano, 117, D. Dilodovico
7. Saratoga Snacks (NY), J. Rosario, 122, G. Sciacca
8. Readtheprospectus (NY), J. Alvarado, 124, C. Brown