(edited Belmont Park release)
Stud Muffin, a $35,000 claim back in March, came through with his biggest effort on the biggest day of the year for New York-breds as he stormed to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap on New York Showcase Day Oct. 18 at Belmont Park.
A crowd of 6,911 witnessed a 75-1 winner to help foil the Pick 6 players, leading a carryover into the Oct. 19 Pick 6 pool of $394,437. The seven New York-bred races offered $1 million in purse money.
Stud Muffin ($10) met plenty of familiar faces in the nine-furlong Empire Classic and had posted a record of 2-1-3 from nine starts. His trouble lines were telling with words like “stumbled,” “steadied,” “altered” and “dwelt” and was the likely reason he went off at a generous price.
“He’s just been unlucky,” said David Duggan, who trains the gray colt for Louis Zito, John Cream and James Romanelli. “I could sit down for 10 minutes and give you reasons why he got beat. In his last race, the track was pure soup and (jockey) John Velazquez said to just throw it out. He came back and was doing good; in fact, exceptionally well.”
Stud Muffin, a 4-year-old son of Raffie’s Majesty, picked up a new jockey for the Empire Classic in Alan Garcia, who kept him inside off a pace of 24.44, 47.61, 1:11.60 and 1:36.27, then angled him outside to get a clear run home.
“At the top of the stretch, I thought I was in front too soon,” Duggan said. “But the last sixteenth of a mile, I was smiling.”
So, too, was Garcia, as they won in 1:49.08.
“He broke good today and he had a good trip,” Garcia said. “Everything was fine for him. He came on the inside and by the quarter-pole he was getting started. He ran very good.”
That’srightofficer was second, followed by Love Abroad and Spanky Fischbein.
Trainer Dominic Galluscio, who had won the Empire Classic in 2006 with Organizer and last year with Organizer's brother Dr. V’s Magic, had hoped for a third straight win here with their sister, Raffie’s Treasure.
She beat only two horses, however, and there was a bit of a sting in the loss since Stud Muffin was claimed from Galluscio at Aqueduct on March 13.
Mohawk Handicap: Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and jockey Edgar Prado teamed up to get their respective third and fourth wins on New York Showcase Day card, when Logic Way got up to win the $150,000 race for 3-year-olds and up at nine furlongs on the inner turf course. The 4-year-old Freud colt returned $26 for his fourth win in six starts this season
Prado patiently stalked Get Serious’ pace of 25.19, 49.17, 1:12.50 and 1:35,79, before letting his mount go on to the neck victory in 1:47.71 on firm ground. Get Serious held on to nose Hangingbyathread for the place.
Iroquois Handicap: Already staked to a blistering early pace, Lansdon Robbins III’s and Kevin Callahan’s Ice Cool Kitty got another break when front-running By the Light drifted out late and opened the door for a one-length victory in the $125,000 test for fillies and mares at seven furlongs on the fast main track.
Under Serviced and By the Light hooked up early to set a torrid pace of 22.34; 44.82 and 1:09.69. In mid-stretch, By the Light began to pull away. Ice Cool Kitty, who had stayed inside, came up the rail under jockey Mike Luzzi. By the Light drifted out and Ice Cool Kitty came through with her 10th career win in 1:24.11.
Dutrow Jr. trained the winner, a daughter of Tomorrows Cat who returned $25.80.
Ticonderoga Handicap: Laue Ranch’s Love Cove ($11.60) led all the way under jockey Kent Desormeaux to win the $150,000 event for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the inner turf.
Trained by Tom Albertani, the 4-year-old Not for Love filly halted a five-race losing streak as she set a soft pace of 25.09, 50.13, 1:14.75 and 1:37.88 on the firm course. Her winning time was 1:49.33.
It was Love Cove’s first win of the year. She entered the day with two second and two thirds in 2008.
Hudson Handicap: IEAH Stable’s Stormin Normandy, who won the 2007 race by a neck over Ferocious Fires only to be disqualified, captured the $125,000 six-furlong main track sprint once again by a half-length over Rollers. It was a neck back to Ferocious Fires and another neck back to Megapixel.
Dutrow conditions the winning 4-year-old Stormin Fever colt who set the pace of 22.18, 44.59 and 56.48 before winning in 2:09.18. It was the third winner of the afternoon for Prado and it was worth $12.
Maid of the Mist: Francis J. Paolangeli’s Stormy’s Smile got on the lead in the $100,000 race and didn’t stop as she scored a 3 1/2-length victory over 11 other 2-year-old fillies in this one-turn mile.
Winless in two previous starts for trainer Galluscio, the Stormy Atlantic filly took jockey Jose Lezcano to the lead, where she set fractions of 22.60, 46.66 and 1:11.87 on the fast track. She got strong as the race neared the finish and came home in 1:38.05 to deliver a $2 win payoff of $153.
Sneakin Up put in a late rally for the place and favored Anjorie was third.
Sleepy Hollow: James and Treasa Donnan’s Trinity Magic continued his steady progress with a front-running seven-length victory in the $100,000 test for 2-year-olds at a mile.
Alone inside, the son of Performing Magic won the third race of his career with ease, carrying Prado through splits of 23.04, 46.27, 1:10.19 and winning in 1:35.95.
Steve Asmussen trains Trinity Magic, who paid $4.40 to win.