Spite the Devil and West Virginia, the first two finishers in last year's Empire Classic at Belmont Park, return for Saturday's renewal of the $250,000 race, the centerpiece of the $1 million New York Showcase Day for state breds.
Trainer Richard DeMola has been slapped with a 15-day suspension by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for the finding of clenbuterol in the post-race test of the winning Mr. Determined.
Hardwicke Stable's late-running Spite the Devil found himself to be the right horse in the right spot to win Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park.
Trainer Bruce Levine saddled three winners Friday, including Clever Eletrician in the $105,100 General Douglas MacArthur Handicap for New York-breds, to open the Belmont Park fall meeting.
Spite the Devil surged past the tiring leaders in the stretch and held off a late charge by Sherpa Guide by a half-length to win the $108,100 Evan Shipman Handicap on closing day of the Belmont spring/summer meeting on Sunday.
Sanford Goldfarb's and Stewart Hoffman's Well Fancied, the post-time favorite of the New York Showcase Day crowd of 10,214, held off the stubborn 7-year-old Gander to win Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic for New York breds at 1 1/8 mile.
Paraneck Stable's Lord ofthe Thunder split front-running Mr. Determined and rallying Union One in the lane at Aqueduct on Sunday afternoon to win the $81,325 King's Point Handicap for New York breds at 1 1/8 mile by 4 1/2 lengths.
Snake Mountain caught front-running stablemate Voodoo at the quarter pole and went on to a 7 ½-length victory over Ground Storm in the 84th running of the $107,400 Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 mile Saturday.
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