Friday, October 20, 2017

Handicapper's Corner: Empire Classic

Closely Matched Field in Empire Classic

By: Mike Mills, ThoroFan Member

The 42nd Running of the Empire Classic for New York State Breds presents an interesting opportunity to go in many directions.  Speed, closers, 3-year old to 7-year old horses, and runners looking to rebound, the field runs the gambit.

The Empire Classic, formerly named the Empire Stakes prior to 1994, has an interesting history as a race that has been run at three different tracks, at three different distances, and at one time was just for 2-year old’s.  The 2017 version will be run at 1 1/8 mile for 3-year old and up.

1) Papa Shot…prior to the trip to Korea had run well in three straight NYS Stakes races in NY…has a chance should the pace fall apart.

2) Becker’s Galaxy….1 of 3 in here for the successful Rudy/Dubb combo….looks to be on the front end from the onset and gets in light at 114 pounds.

3) Twisted Tom…Chad Brown points this 3-year old against older horses for the first time….winner of 5 out of his last 6 races (lone flop was in the G1 Belmont) Tom knows how to win, but in this spot may have to do some twisting around what may be a hot pace.

4) Control Group…..the second for Rudy/Dubb… a 3-year old who has done little wrong since being claimed by the connections back in January…..stepping into Stakes company for the first time but appears to be an improving colt who gets in the lightest of all at 112.

5) Hit It Once More…..Hasn’t inspired during 2017 and looks to be part of the hot pace in here which hasn’t brought much success for him since moving away from 3-year old company only.

6) Can You Diggit….Has Twisted Tom to deal with once again and Tom has had his number in his last two….another 3-year old who will have to improve to contend.

7) Testosterstone….looks too slow for top placing but will like the distance should the pace falter.

8) Governor Malibu…...runs honest almost every time but just doesn’t look like he wants to pass the horse he needs to pass to win….has run in 6 graded races and represented himself well in NYS Bred Stakes (although doing so without a win).

9) Royal Posse…..the third from Rudy/Dubb……the defending champ appears to have tailed off a bit in his last few but his recent work does provide a bit of inspiration for improvement.

Anyone of the 9 appear to be able to win this race.  Depending on the track and race shape I have come up with 8 different horses winning and my head spinning.  However, one trend that seemed to be prevalent was #8 Governor Malibu finishing second.  So, I started thinking of how to build a wager around #8 running second….crazy idea don’t you all think?

So, let’s give this a shot in the exacta and tri with:  2-3-4-9 with 8 with 2-3-4-9

Exacta Key Box will cost $8 for each $1 bet.  Tri will cost $9 for each $1 bet.

Have a (Crazy) Day!

Mike Mills

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