Empire Dreams and Miss Narcissist headline NYSS stakes
By Sean Morris | 04/24/2014 05:27 PM ET
Promising New York-breds Empire Dreams and Miss Narcissist will anchor a 10-race closing day card on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Times Square and Park Avenue divisions, respectively, of the New York Stallion Stakes.
Empire Dreams enters the Times Square - run at 6 ½ furlongs for eligible 3-year-olds - off a third-place finish against older horses on March 29 at the Big A, his first start of the year. In 2013, the son of Patriot Act enjoyed a successful juvenile campaign that saw him finish second to Wired Bryan in the Bertram F. Bongard, and was capped by a 1 ¾-length victory in the NYSS Great White Way.
"He's doing pretty well," said Empire Dream's trainer, Tom Albertrani, who trains the colt for West Point Thoroughbreds. "He may have needed his last race; I'm hoping it set him up for this."
Albertrani also indicated that the long-striding colt would get a chance to go two turns at some point later on this year.
"We want to try to stretch him out," said the trainer. "He's run well going shorter as a 2-year-old, and being restricted, this race fit him. We just thought we'd start him off here and then stretch him out."
Empire Dreams will square off on Sunday against a quality foe in Loki's Vengeance, who rejoins restricted company after contesting a pair of open-company stakes races, including a second-place effort in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela. The Frost Giant colt - trained by Mike Hushion for Blue Bison Stable - has a record of two wins from five starts, all at the Big A, and is two for three against New York-breds.
Let's Discuss, Double Gold, Lulu Rocks and Bourbon Therapy round out the field.
Miss Narcissist will make her 2014 debut in the Park Avenue for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs. The precocious daughter of Freud established herself as a top New York-bred juvenile in 2013, winning three of four starts, including two stakes races, but also earned a reputation for being a bad actress. Her penchant for trouble was on display in the gate prior to the East View, which resulted in her being scratched.
"She was a mess in the starting gate [of the East View]," said the filly's trainer, Linda Rice. "She got spooked and was banged up pretty good."
Following the East View, Rice - who is part-owner of Miss Narcissist along with Acqua Nova Stable and Winter Park Partners - sent her talented filly to Florida to recuperate and prepare for her 3-year-old campaign.
"She's been doing pretty well," said the trainer. "I wish I had another breeze in her and a little more time. She's not at her peak at the moment but she should run well."
Rice will also send out Champagne Ruby and Bella the Bandit, and the trio will be joined by Marketable Miss, Storied Lady, Hey Kiddo, Possetivevibration and Henry's Gal in the starting gate.
The field for the Times Square:
The field for the Park Avenue: