Owner John Oxley, trainer Mark Casse, and jockey Julien Leparoux, completed an impressive 2-year-old stakes double July 2 at Churchill Downs.
Classic Empire, a Pioneerof the Nile colt, was seven lengths back in seventh after the first quarter in the Bashford Manor, was three wide entering the stretch, and rallied to win the six-furlong event by three-quarters of a length ahead of 1-2 favorite Recruiting Ready. The winner hit the wire in 1:09.39 and paid $11.40 to win. The top pair was nine lengths clear of third-place finisher Tip Tap Tapizar.
Pretty City Dancer, a Tapit filly, trailed by six lengths in eighth early but quickly improved position and held a two-length lead at the top of the stretch and pulled away to win by 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Anna's Bandit. She paid $9.60 to win.
Classic Empire won his debut May 4 at Churchill by 1 1/2 lengths.
"The first time when he won at 4 1/2 (furlongs), he was almost too quick and he still won, but today at six furlongs I liked it," Leparoux said. "He was useful, but we were down inside and he's still a baby, so when he broke slow, he was kind of looking at all of the horses outside of him. So he was a little green, but after that he was very professional."