11/23/2013 3:32PM

Aqueduct: Empire Dreams proves best in Great White Way

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Empire Dreams, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., wins the Great White Way by 1 3/4 lengths.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Empire Dreams didn’t have the best trip, but he was certainly much the best horse in Saturday’s $150,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct.

Stymied trying to advance into contention along the rail turning for home, Empire Dreams was guided to the four-path in upper stretch by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., and then overpowered three horses in front of him to win the Great White Way by 1 3/4 lengths. Sol the Freud got second by a head over Lady’s Smart Alec. Free Mugatu was fourth followed by Social Rebellion. Captain Toews scratched.

The win was the second from five starts for Empire Dreams, a 2-year-old son of Patriot Act owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Tom Albertrani.

Breaking from the rail, Empire Dreams was in fourth position while two horses dueled ahead of him and Free Mugatu raced to his outside.

Approaching the quarter pole, Ortiz thought about trying to sneak through the rail, but the opening was narrow. Believing he was on the best horse, Ortiz guided him to the outside and once in the clear, Empire Dreams kicked in.

“When I put him on the outside - the farther I put him on the outside - he picked it up,” Ortiz said. “I just hit him one time and my feeling I was going to pass the other horses. Much the best in the race.”

Sent off the 4-5 favorite, Empire Dreams covered six furlongs in 1:11.16 over a fast track and returned $3.70 to win.

Albertrani said he has noticed that Empire Dreams doesn’t like to be on the inside of horses and was relieved when Ortiz finally got him in the clear.

“When he’s in tight quarters he doesn’t like it. I’m sure he probably didn’t care for being in there,” Albertrani said. “Once he got clear, [Ortiz] knew he had a lot of horse to make up the difference turning for home.”

Albertrani said Empire Dreams would most likely get a chance to stretch out around two turns, perhaps as early as Dec. 15 in the $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-breds at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track.

“He definitely wants to go longer. You could see that,” Albertrani said.