Sunset Glow trying to go out a winner
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sunset Glow and Osaila, both with big Breeders’ Cup efforts on their past performances, are among an oversubscribed group of 3-year-old fillies set to go postward Saturday in the last of 16 stakes at the Keeneland fall meet, the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes.
Sunset Glow ran second and Osaila was third behind Lady Eli last fall in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, and they have followed divergent paths in making it back into the same starting gate. They’re among 18 fillies (only 14 can start from 16 on the program) entered in the $150,000 Valley View, a 1 1/16mile turf race that anchors a 10-race Saturday card.
Sunset Glow, with Rafael Hernandez riding from post 10, will be making her final career start before being sold Nov. 3 here at Keeneland by owner Ten Broeck Farm.
“We’d love to send her out a winner and maybe pick up a little momentum for the stable heading into the Breeders’ Cup,” said trainer Wesley Ward.
Osaila (post 7, Florent Geroux) will be making her first start since being turned over to Todd Pletcher following a summer overseas and a fifthplace finish in the Sands Point at Belmont Park last month for Richard Hannon. The Irishbred filly will be treated with Lasix for the first time.
Among the other major contenders in a terrific wagering event are Include Betty (post 3, Drayden Van Dyke), the leading earner in the field with $711,030, and Gap Year (post 5, Joel Rosario), a highly regarded Godolphin homebred.
Belmont: Empire Showcase Day
ELMONT, N.Y. – Saratoga Snacks will try to win the Empire Classic for the second time in three years when he heads a field of nine entered for Saturday’s running at Belmont Park. The $300,000 Empire Classic is the richest of eight stakes – all for New York-breds – on an 11-race card known as Empire Showcase Day.
Purses total $1.75 million for the eight stakes. First post will be 12:25 p.m. Eastern, 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Saratoga Snacks will be running in the Empire Classic for the fourth consecutive year. As a 3-year-old in 2012, he finished second for trainer Gary Sciacca. He won it for Sciacca in 2013 and was fourth in it last year for trainer Bill Mott.
Back with Sciacca this year, Saratoga Snacks has won two of five starts. He is coming off a nose loss to Royal Posse in the Evan Shipman Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 4.
On Monday, Saratoga Snacks worked a half-mile in 48.01 seconds over the Belmont training track.
“His last three works have been super, just on his own,” said Sciacca, who is now the owner of Saratoga Snacks. “He’s feeling tremendous, doing fabulous. If he can carry it on to Saturday, we’ll be okay.”
Among the horses Saratoga Snacks will meet in the Empire Classic are Empire Dreams, who beat Saratoga Snacks in the Commentator Stakes here in May, and Royal Posse. The others entered are Beyond Empire, Full of Mine, Johannesburg Smile, Good Luck Gus, Sioux, and Warrioroftheroses.
After a failed attempt at winning a Grade 1, Hot Stones is back with New York-breds at Belmont Park on Saturday, when she heads a field of 10 entered in the $250,000 Empire Distaff at 1 1/16 miles.
The last time she faced New York breds, Hot Stones won the Saratoga Dew Stakes by 9 1/4 lengths at Saratoga. She ran in the Grade 1 Beldame, finishing last, 13 lengths behind the winner, Wedding Toast.
“I know it was a Grade 1 and all that, but I thought she would run a lot better,” trainer Bruce Levine said. “She came back and worked good, and we’re all set to go.”
Also entered for the Empire Distaff are Temper Mint Patty, Jules N Rome, Wonder Gal, Star Grazing, Kathy’s Humor, Carameaway, Jc’s Shooting Star, Saythreehailmary’s, and Tahoe Tigress.
Grade 1 winner Sunset Glow, shown training Oct. 6, will make her final start Saturday in the Valley View before being sold.