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Haynesfield Returning in Empire Classic

10 02 2010: Haynesfield & Ramon Dominguez win the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup by 7 lengths, at 1 1/4, 3-year olds & up, Belmont Park, Elmont, NY. Trainer Steve Asmussen. Owners Turtle Bird Stable
The $200,000 McMahon Adena Empire Classic is the centerpiece of seven stakes races for New York-breds on NYRA's annual New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park on October 22.

Heading the field for the 1 1/8-mile race is multiple graded-stakes winner Haynesfield, who will seek a repeat of his 2009 victory as he returns to state-bred company for the first time since June 13, 2010. Winner of last year's Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, the 5-year-old son of Speightstown will be making his first start since May, having finished fifth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Westchester, his only 2011 starts.

"He's doing well and we are looking forward to getting him back to the races," said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "His last few works have been very good, and we excited about running him in this spot."

In six starts facing state-breds, Haynesfield is 4-1-1; overall, the Turtle Bird color-bearer has won nine of 17 lifetime starts and earned more than $1.1 million.

Also targeting the Empire Classic is the popular Icabad Crane, runner-up to Friend Or Foe in last year's race. This year, the son of Jump Start won the G'Day Mate at Aqueduct Race Course in February and the Evan Shipman at Saratoga Race Course in July, after which he was seventh on the turf in the West Point.

Inherit the Gold, who won five straight at Aqueduct over the winter, including the Kings Point and the Grade 3 Excelsior; Johannesburg Smile, recent winner of the Noble Nashua at Belmont, Green Monster, a winner of two straight who will be making his stakes debut, and Mine Over Matter, most recently third to Johannesburg Smile in the Noble Nashua are also likely for the race.

Joe Corrigan and Socialsaul are questionable, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.

 

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