Empire Dreams wins Belmont’s $300,000 Empire Classic

NEW YORK (AP) Empire Dreams beat Royal Posse by three-quarters of a length Saturday to win the $300,000 Empire Classic, the richest of the 11 races for New York breds at Belmont Park.

It was the biggest victory for the 4-year-old gelding, who was ridden by Manny Franco and improved to 3-4-0 in eight Belmont starts.

”There was a good pace in front of us and he just reeled them in,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. ”He’s always run well at Belmont, and we got what we needed today.”

Empire Dreams rallied six wide in the stretch for his fifth win in 17 starts. The winner covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.35 on a fast track.

Empire Dreams paid $9.70, $4.20 and $3.40. Royal Posse returned $4.10 and $3.60 while Full of Mine, a 71-1 shot, showed at $23.

In other New York Showcase Day stakes:

-Get Jets, the even-money favorite, took the $250,000 Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths over Fish Trappe Road. The colt, trained by Tony Dutrow and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., won for the second time in three starts, paying $4.10 to win.

-Palace earned his 12th career victory in the $150,000 Hudson Handicap for sprinters. The 4-5 favorite paid $3.60 to win for the team of trainer Linda Rice and jockey Cornelio Velasquez. The 6-year-old ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.68.

-Rice was back in the winner’s circle one race later. La Verdad easily captured the $150,000 Iroquois for filly and mare sprinters by 3 3/4 lengths as the 1-5 favorite. Rice now faces decisions. She pre-entered Palace and La Verdad in next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. She has until entry time Monday to determine if either comes back on short rest.

-Lubash edged Kharafa by head in the $200,000 Mohawk in another meeting of these veterans of state-bred turf races. The 8-year-old Lubash won for the 16th time, avenging a 1 1/4 length defeat to Kharafa in last year’s Mohawk. Lubash paid $9.10 to win.

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