2011 Empire Stakes at Belmont Park

Rob Gregorka

Las Vegas, NV -- This Saturday at Belmont Park features seven stakes races, all run by New York bred horses. The races are part of a unique day at Belmont, called New York Showcase Day. The main race on the card is the $200,000 McMahon Adena Empire Classic. This 1-1/8 mile stakes race is loaded with talent this year.

The horse to beat, a returning winner of this race, appears to be Haynesfield. The 2009 Classic winner returns with plenty of competition to face. Despite the deep field, trainer Steve Asmussen is confident, saying, "His last few works have been very good, and we're excited about running him in this spot." While Haynesfield is a multiple graded stakes winner, horses like Icabad Crane, and Inherit the Gold, have experience in big races as well.

Saturday's New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park horse betting headlined by the Empire Classic.

Icabad Crane has proven he can run with the best in the Empire Classic. He came second to Friend Or Foe in last years Classic. With two graded stakes wins already this year, he certainly won't be intimidated. Inherit the Gold is also familiar with winning big races, having won the most recent Kings Point, and Grade 3 Excelsior. The 5-year old with a win here would also be considered for New York bred horse of the year.

While these three stakes winners have shown they can win on the big stage, they are joined by a number of talented and capable horses. One such up and coming horse is Green Monster. "The Monster" has won two straight races, and has reportedly looked great in his workouts, with a recent best workout of the day. There's no reason he can't take this years Classic. Another recent winner, very capable of winning Saturday, is Johannesburg Smile. He more than impressed in his victory in the Noble Nashua Stakes at Belmont.

It is certainly clear that our morning line favorite, Haynesfield, has tons of superb competition in this years Empire Classic. The centerpiece of this Saturday's New York Showcase Day, has all the makings of a big time exciting stakes race. With plenty of horses having a great shot at claiming a win, it will be this weekend's can't miss race.

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