The Empire Distaff- $250.000 Purse
AQU- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward Foaled In NY
One Mile on the Dirt
October 19, 2019
The biggest races this Saturday will be taking place at the Big A as those born in the Empire State will get their chance to be in the spotlight with not really many big stakes going on elsewhere this weekend. The Empire Distaff is the highlight of the day for female racehorses, and it will send eleven three year olds to post for the fifth running of the race. Actually, it could send older horses too, but no one wanted to send any. So, it’s three year olds only! The race was won last year by Pumpernickel Basil, and D J C Racing Stables. She’s gone on to have a solid four year old campaign with a couple graded wins. Let’s meet the contenders to be our next winner!
#1- Fraudulent Actions (Nakamura Stables, ridden by R Chirinos)- Winner of three of her last four, and that was able to get her into stake competition, which of the race of that stretch she did not win. It was still a sharp effort, as she ran second in the $75.000 NY Oaks. Worked very well at BEL in her last public outing, and that should give hope for her as she takes on the toughest company she has ever faced.
#2- Out And Bad (Night Rider Stables, ridden by Ro Maragh)- A highly experienced filly against NY-breds, with six of her last ten with the statebred classification. She has also taken on graded competition within that time, and in her last start, finally had one of the race end up as a win, as she captured the Grade 3 RP Oaks, going wire to wire. She was the one that beat Fraudulent Actions at the NY Oaks, as well. Poses a strong threat, particularly at this distance.
#3- Obvious Deception (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Has more stake experience then does her stablemate, and she is also working quite well, looking sharp at LA last month. She hasn’t raced in a couple months, dating back to a Grade 3 at AP where she ran on the grass. The biggest win of hers so far is the $75.000 CA Oaks at GG this spring. If I were to pick a Nakamura horse, I’d lean towards her stablemate, but both have a shot.
#4- Dawn The Destroyer (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Her best race thus far came back in May, when she ran second in the $200.000 Critical Eye at BEL for NY-breds, and that effort got her a chance to compete in the Grade 2 Mother Goose. That did not go well, and she was dropped all the way into a NY-bred optional claimer at FL, instead of at least BEL for her last effort. If all she needed is the confidence boost, then there it is.
#5- Huzza (John Henry, ridden by A A Gallardo)- After running eighth in the BC Juvenile Fillies, she was sold to John Henry for $300.000. She is winless in six starts, but has been competitive and has not been dropped into other races for confidence boosters. Her dam, having raced her myself, was always good in races like this and I think she is a sneaky play in this field, especially if the odds climb.
#6- Mistique (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Acquired by the trainer in early August from Aer Stables for $150.000, and only has two duds to show for herself since then. Has run a variety of distances, but it does seem as though this type of distance is what she should be running consistently. Hard to like in this field, and the SRF’s are on the low side for this type of race.
#7- Pennies (Arindel, ridden by J Alvarado)- Comes out of the Grade 1 Cotillion at PRX, which is always a BC Distaff preview. Ran ninth against that company, and running here will be better for her, and more like the Grade 3 Pine Stakes she competed in two races ago. She won that DMR race, and if nothing else should get back to that tactic on being near the lead early again. Seems like a pretty good threat here.
#8- Hollywood Sister (Estero Farms, ridden by D Van Dyke)- You can give her an award for Best Supporting Actress if you want as her seven races this year have seen three places and three shows, but no wins. She has only won once, which was eleven months ago and a month after she tried a $200.000 stake. Her results earn the trainer money, which he’ll take, but he’d love to see her finally get a lead role.
#9- On The Flop (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by J Lezcano)- The trainer reacquired this filly that he originally bred in a $12.500 claiming race, and immediately ran her against better competition. He was rewarded for this, winning overnights at high level tracks before capturing the $100.000 Union Avenue at SAR, marking her fifth consecutive win. The streak was snapped in her last start. She’s gone this long once before but it’s been a while. Let’s see how she responds to it.
#10- Fire Island Sunshine (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by D Saenz)- Took her five starts to break her maiden, but she probably just wanted to run against better horses to do it. It is impressive how when stepped to CD, she finally got that win. Though it was muddy, and there was only three other horses. Comes off a win at LAD in her last start, and jumps up in class here. This horse is an example for me if needing to see it, first, to have confidence in her.
#11- Immookalee (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by J R Davila Jr)- Davila gets a chance to leave FL and run against the better NY-breds here at the Big A. It’s his first time on this filly, but Immookalee is no stranger to NY-bred racing, having done so in eight of eleven starts. She only has one win and just four finishes in the money. I’ll have to pass.