Americanrevolution continues rise in Empire Classic rout

Saturday, October 30th, 2021

Americanrevolution dominates Saturday’s $300,000 Empire Classic to highlight Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Americanrevolution flattered the 2021 American 3-year-old crop and stamped himself as a legitimate contender for New York-bred Horse of the Year honors with a powerful victory over older rivals in Saturday’s $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap to close Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park.

Fresh off a third behind Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, Americanrevolution added the Empire Classic to his two prior New York-bred stakes victories this summer. CHC Inc.’s and WinStar Farm’s son of Constitution won the 9-furlong Empire Classic by 11 3/4 lengths.

“He looked like a winner every step,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar’s president, chief executive officer and racing manager. “He’s a very nice horse, we’re proud of him being by Constitution and he loved the mud today.”

Americanrevolution capped the big day for New York-breds, one of three Showcase Days run annually along with the Big Apple Showcase in the spring at Belmont and Saratoga Showcase in the summer at Saratoga Race Course. Saturday’s 10-race card included six stakes, led by the Empire Classic and Empire Distaff, with total purses of $1,625,000. The Empire Showcase Day’s traditional two grass stakes – the $200,000 Ticonderoga for older fillies and mares and the $200,000 Mohawk for 3-year-olds and up – were moved to Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 because of heavy rain this week on Long Island.

“Today’s Empire Showcase Day was a prime example of the success and integral role the New York-bred program has in the thoroughbred racing industry,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “Each of our three annual showcase days highlight the quality of talent being produced by the breeders of our state and the opportunities available in incentives for breeders, along with exceptional purses for owners and horsemen.”

Racing on a sloppy and sealed track for the first time in his six-start career, Americanrevolution and jockey Luis Saez raced behind the pace battle between Sea Foam and two-time defending Empire Classic winner Mr. Buff through the swift opening fractions of :22.85 and :45.84.

Sea Foam, winner of the Evan Shipman at Saratoga who was shortening up after an eighth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup going 12 furlongs at Parx Racing Sept. 25, shrugged off Mr. Buff’s bid around the far turn and clicked past 6 furlongs in 1:10.35.

Saez guided Americanrevolution to the outside around the turn and they ranged up alongside Sea Foam approaching the quarter-pole. Americanrevolution took over before the field straightened for home and quickly opened up daylight between Sea Foam and early chasers Captain Bombastic and Three Jokers.

“We got the trip we wanted,” Saez said. “We were breaking outside the speed and so we just tried to sit and keep him comfortable.”

Americanrevolution poured it on late under little urging from Saez, cruising past the eighth pole 5 1/2 lengths in front after a mile in 1:35.97. The 2-5 favorite continued to widen in deep stretch while Wild Banker, the longest price on the board at 56-1, and Dylan Davis rallied late to nose out Sea Foam for the place spot. Danny California finished fourth, followed by Captain Bombastic, Tiergan, Three Jokers and Mr. Buff. Americanrevolution won in 1:49.11.

NYTB Executive Director Najja Thompson (left) presents to Americanrevolutions connections, jockey Luis Saez, WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden and Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. NYRA Photo.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Walden said. “He’s probably the ninth or 10th best 3-year-old in the country right now. Some of the better ones are retiring after this year so if he comes back well, who knows how it goes next year. He’s certainly done nothing wrong and I’m very excited of what’s ahead for him.”

Bred by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding and foaled at Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater, Americanrevolution was purchased by China Horse Club and WinStar’s Maverick Racing for $275,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. Americanrevolution is the second foal out of the winning Super Saver mare Polly Freeze, who is a half sister to Korean champion Cheongdam Dokki, graded stakes winner and $493,367-earner Gouldings Green and stakes winner Filare L’Oro, the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Silver Dust and Grade 3 winner Forza Di Oro.

Americanrevolution started his career in Kentucky with Rodolphe Brisset, who send him out for his lone start at 2 when fourth behind Mandaloun in a 6-furlong maiden at Keeneland. Transferred to Todd Pletcher in late 2020, Americanrevolution didn’t make it back to the races until June 20 at Belmont, where he won a state-bred 6-furlong maiden race by a neck. He followed that up with victories in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes in July and the Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in August.

“He’s come a long way in a short period of time,” Pletcher said. “He’s a talented horse and showed last time that he belongs with some of the better 3-year-olds in the country, so it was great to have an opportunity like he had today.”

The Empire Classic, the centerpiece on the Showcase Day card that featured five other stakes, was worth $165,000 and it boosted Americanrevolution’s bankroll to $532,035.

Hertich and Fielding also paired to breed New York-bred champion and multiple Grade 1 winner Diversify. Hertrich bought Americanrevolution’s dam, Polly Freeze, in foal to Wicked Strong for $75,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She’d previously sold as a yearling for $155,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September sale. Her first foal, the Kentucky-bred Wicked Strong filly Text Dont Call, had made three starts in Southern California when Americanrevolution went through the Saratoga sales ring, placing twice. She eventually won two of 16 starts and earned $42,109.

Polly Freeze’s third foal, the New York-bred Hard Spun colt named Bold Journey, sold for $80,000 to McMahon & Hill Bloodstock, agent, at this year’s OBS April 2-year-olds in training sale. He’s in training in New York and posted a half-mile breeze over Belmont’s training track in :49.25 Oct. 20.

Polly Freeze is also the dam of a Kentucky-bred yearling filly by Collected who sold to BDR IV and West Point for $210,000 at the Keeneland September sale. She was bred to Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso last year.

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