Belmont Park is putting the best of breed and best of New
York born on display today with a slate of Empire Stakes races, punctuated by
the Empire Classic Handicap. A field of eight thoroughbreds foaled in NY State
and approved by the New York State-Bred registry will race 1 1/8 miles on
Belmont's main track.
The group of three-year-olds and up will battle it out in
the 10th for the Empire Classic Crown and their share of $175,000 in
FUNNY GUY (PP: 3 ML 2-1) is the pre-race favorite and is
coming off a disappointing second place finish as the bettors' post-time choice
in his last effort. It was the second time in a row and fourth time in his last
four starts that he was the chalk and failed to deliver. Trainer John Terranova
bounces back at a high rate with beaten favorites, scoring at 36% the next time
out, but FUNNY GUY'S history suggests he's a very beatable favorite.
Next up on the tote board is MR. BUFF (PP: 2 ML 5/2). Just
looking at his most recent two races may cause you to look away in fear.
However, closer inspection shows the six-year-old is dropping in class from the
Grade I, Whitney Stakes. His resume shows a horse that's done some major damage
at the non-graded level with five mostly blowout wins and a second by 1 ¼
lengths after bobbling at the break. Savvy horseplayers should hope the public
overlooks MR. BUFF and that his odds head higher.
SEA FOAM (PP: 7 ML 4-1) is the third choice and will be
trying for his third win in a row. Jockey Joel Rosario has taken the son of
MEDAGLIA D'ORO to the front for the Waterville Lake Stable's barn in the pair
of trips ending in the winners' circle. Unlike MR. BUFF who is in poor form and
moving down in class, SEA FOAM is moving up to maximum his potential winnings
while in good form.
BANKIT (PP: 5 ML 6-1) is the last of the horses with
morning-line odds of less than 10-1. Trainer Steve Asmussen is handing the
reigns to one of the nation's top jockeys, Irad Ortiz, Jr. He piloted BANK IT
four races back, finishing third behind FUNNY GUY and MR. BUFF. Ortiz left the
chute eighth of nine and didn't have enough late to get past the win and place
horses. It would not be surprising to see a replay today with BANKIT lagging
early and doing all he can to make up for it late; however, the pace could work
against him again today.
OUR LAST BUCK (PP: 1 ML 15-1) might be the best bet if you
are looking to play a longshot. He's making his third start off the bench after
showing much improvement if race two compared to his return to the tack on the
September 2nd. He's just a neck away from winning four of his last five
starts and finished second in the other, be it 13 behind the victor. Two of
those wins and the neckly second happened at Belmont. He just might be a horse
for the course.
It should be a good day to find value at Belmont Park as
many of the favorites look beatable today.
Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.