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NY Bred Stakes on Feature at Belmont
New York-breds will be in the spotlight all day long on Saturday at Belmont, with an 11-race card restricted to state-breds including seven stakes races offering $1.25 million in purse money. The action kicks off with race 2 and the $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes for two-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on the dirt, and runs through race 11 with the feature event, the $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap for three-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles, also on the dirt course. Two of the day’s stakes will be run in the turf.
Zetterholm cuts back in class to face rivals
The eight-horse field for the Empire is led by the four-year-old gelding Zetterholm, who probably got in over his head last year in stepping up to the Grade I Preakness Stakes and Grade II Dwyer, running fourth in both. In his only start this year he was fifth in the Saratoga Sunrise. He’ll face both the winner and second-place finisher in that one in the Empire in Awesome Vision and Bigger is Bettor. The former took a step back the next time out with an eighth in the Ashley T. Cole, while the latter was fifth in the Spite the Devil.
Others on hot streaks have a good chance
Breaking from the two outside posts are a pair with opposite styles who could have a say in the outcome. In the #7 post will be Saratoga Snacks, who has yet to finish out of the money in nine career starts, and has wins including two stakes wins at this level this year, running on or near the pace in both. Outside of him will be Readtheprospectus, winner of all five of his races this year, including his last two minor stakes scores where he was able to rate off the pace before taking command late. He has an allowance win at the distance.
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