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Empire Classic Betting Predictions – Sailmate Sails to Victory At Belmont Park

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 10/18/2012 6:27:52 PM

Empire Classic Betting Predictions – Sailmate Sails to Victory At Belmont Park

Sports betting players should check out the non-graded Empire Classic, a handicap race for horses three years old and up and is a staple of the New York Showcase. This year’s winner is a four-year-old that has been getting better at 1 1/8 miles and will seal the deal with a victory on Saturday at Belmont Park.

What: Horse Betting
When: Saturday, October 20th, post time TBA
Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, New York
Pick: Sailmate

This will be the first race for Big Business that isn’t a maiden (which took him six tries to win), allowance or claiming race, so you would have to think this four-year-old gelding is a longshot to compete. Stranger things have happened, but a lot of things would have to go down for Big Business to come away with the win at Belmont Park.  

In 17 races, Bigger Is Bettor has only raced in three events that aren’t maidens or allowance races, although one of those was last year’s Empire Classic at Belmont, in which he finished sixth. This four-year-old colt is from New York (as is Big Business) and his handlers would love to be in the winner’s circle on Saturday.

Fiddlers Afleet finished ninth in the Grade-1 Santa Anita Handicap back in March, but his results have gotten better since then and even scooped up a win in the non-graded Chasin’ Wimmin event at Belmont in July. This six-year-old from the Empire State (this event was named after New York’s state nickname) obviously has the experience to compete, but can he pull it off on Saturday?

Haldane has made just two starts, both allowance races at Belmont Park, and he won his debut, but finished third in the other. Still, it was a nice little start for this three-year-old filly, another New York-bred horse (if you notice a trend, it is because this race is restricted to horses bred in New York), and it could be considered a mild horse betting upset if she can get to the finish line first. Fillies generally tend to be the underdog when going up against a field of male horses, so you will probably be able to find some good odds for Haldane.

Johannesburg Smile is looking to bounce back from a seventh-place run at the non-graded West Point Handicap at Saratoga in August, but it has still been a solid 2012 for him. This five-year-old won the non-graded Lemon Drop Kid in July at Belmont Park and has finished third or better in three of his four starts this year. He also finished third in last year’s Empire Classic, so look for Johannesburg Smile to be considered as one of the horse betting favorites in this race.

Lunar Victory has won five straight races, but four of the five have come in allowance races. This five-year-old did manage to beat Sailmate and Johannesburg Smile in the non-graded Evan Shipman event at Saratoga in July, and that should earn him some credit among bettors. However, some players will tend to stay away from horses that don’t have that much experience against semi-talented fields, and the fields in allowance races tend to be full of also-rans. Lunar Victory showed he could beat other horses of his pedigree, but can he do it again?

This will be the first time that Sailmate runs an actual event at Belmont Park as opposed to maiden or allowance races. He did come in second in the aforementioned Evan Shipman event and this is another chance for the four-year-old colt to make an impact in New York thoroughbred horse racing. Sailmate has a very good chance to come away with the win, and has been improving over the distance of this race (1 1/8 miles) since last year.

Saratoga Snacks is making his first start in a non-maiden or allowance race, although he has won a pair of allowance races at Belmont Park in 2012. This three-year-old colt has a chance to show that he is one of the brightest up-and-comers when it comes to New York-bred horses with a win on Saturday, but how will he handle the step up in competition?

Saxophone Len rounds out the field at Belmont Park and is running his first non-maiden/allowance race since November, when he finished sixth in the non-graded New York Stallion Great White Way at Aquaduct. He did win an allowance race at Belmont Park in July and like Saratoga Snacks, Saxophone Len is a three-year-old colt looking to throw his name into the ring of contenders.

How It Will Play Out

Three-year-olds have won three of the last five Empire Classics, but Haynesfield won for the second time in three years in 2011 as a five-year-old. Split the difference and take a four-year-old, Sailmate, in your online betting picks.

Empire Classic Betting Pick: Sailmate



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