Empire Dreams wins the Commentator Stakes.
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Empire Dreams wins the Commentator Stakes.
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Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Empire Dreams Rallies to Win Commentator

West Point Thoroughbreds-owned gelding wins $200,000 state-bred stakes at Belmont.

West Point Thoroughbreds' Empire Dreams scored the biggest win of his career when he took the $200,000 Commentator Handicap at Belmont Park May 25 (VIDEO).

The Commentator was one of six stakes offered for horses bred in New York with total purses of $900,000 on the Memorial Day program.

Sent off at 4-1 in the field of six, Empire Dreams rallied from last to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Readthebyline, who was a nose in front of 8-5 favorite Saratoga Snacks.

"I believe it was a good setup today," winning jockey Javier Castellano said. "There was a lot of speed in the race, and I think he had the perfect trip today. He's an off-the-pace horse and they went pretty quick with a decent pace, so I took advantage.

"He gave me a good run in the last part of the race. I was looking forward to the last kick and he gave it to me."

Readthebyline set the pace through a half-mile in :46.15 with Summer Place to Be and Saratoga Snacks pressing from second and third. As the field hit the top of the stretch, Readthebyline was still in front but Empire Dreams was full of run.

He rallied five-wide off the turn for home in hot pursuit under Castellano before pulling ahead in the lane getting to the wire in 1:35.42 for the one-mile distance on a fast track.

"He came out of his last race really well," trainer Tom Albertrani said of Empire Dreams' second-place finish in the May 3 Affirmed Success Stakes at Belmont. "I just tuned him up in his first race back and he was pretty sharp coming into this race. We just decided to give him some time off at the end of last year and gelded him.

"The plan was to get a good, strong pace and be closing, and I think Javier had them measured. Actually, I was expecting a little bit of a stronger pace, but he had plenty of horse to get by."

Empire Dreams, a 4-year-old gelding by Patriot Act out of the Thunder Gulch mare Ascended Dreams, has won four of 13 career starts with earnings of $463,667. In addition to the win in the Commentator, Empire Dreams won the 2014 New York Derby at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack and the 2013 New York Stallion Series Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Bred in New York by Pegasus Dream Stable, Empire Dreams returned $10.20 to win, $4.70 to place, and $2.80 to show. Readthebyline paid $5.30 to place and $3.30 to show, while Saratoga Snacks returned $2.20 to show.

Readtheprospectus got up to be fourth and was followed by Summer Place to Be and Sinistra. Bond Vigilante was an early scratch.

In other stakes action, Bloodlines Racing Partnerships' Invading Humor ($9 to win) captured the $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes (VIDEO); Christopher McKenna and Eric Fein's Ostrolenka ($4.90) prevailed in the $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes (VIDEO); Marc Keller's Quezon ($6.50) took the $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes (VIDEO); Aliyu Ben J Stables' Lubash ($10.20) finally won the $125,000 Kingston Stakes (VIDEO) after finishing in the money in the last four years; and Antonino Miuccio's Sheriffa ($20.40) captured the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes (VIDEO).