Empire Dreams Stretches Out in New York Derby
West Point Thoroughbreds' Empire Dreams stretches out and looks to break through July 12 in the $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes, coming off back-to-back seconds for trainer Tom Albertrani in restricted stakes competition.
The 1 1/16-mile New York Derby is the second leg of the "Big Apple Triple" for New York-bred sophomores, but there won't be a horse gunning for that sweep this year. Captain Serious, who won the June 1 Mike Lee Stakes to take the first leg by three lengths over Empire Dreams at Belmont Park, ran July 5 in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont and missed by just three-quarters of a length to Kid Cruz.
Empire Dreams, by Patriot Act, recorded his runner-up finish in the seven-furlong Mike Lee after missing the 6 1/2-furlong Times Square Stakes division of the New York Stallion Series at Aqueduct Racetrack in April by 1 1/4 lengths. Late in his 2-year-old season, he added to his six-furlong maiden score with a 1 3/4-length victory in the Great White Way, another New York Stallion Series event also run at six furlongs.
Manuel Franco gets the mount on the 7-5 morning line favorite, who carries 116 from post 6 in a field of seven.
Others of interest include Donald Newman's Carlos Martin trainee Eye Luv Lulu and Tri-Bone Stables' Effinex, both allowance winners who share highweight assignments of 122 pounds. The latter started in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) earlier this year, but finished eighth after giving the New York Racing Association gate crew a hard time loading.
Effinex is the only one in the group to have attempted the New York Derby distance, and counts a March 23 allowance score going 1 1/16 miles in which he widened away to win by 6 1/4 lengths. In his last start for trainer David Smith, however, he finished a tired sixth over the same amount of ground.
After the boys test their mettle in the New York Derby, eight fillies will line up going the same distance in the $75,000 New York Oaks. Team Penney Racing, Wachtel Stable and Brous Stable's Flipcup, now trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, and Tri County Stable's John Hertler trainee Storied Lady head that group.
Finger Lakes, Saturday, July 12, 2014, Race 7
Finger Lakes, Saturday, July 12, 2014, Race 9
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