08/18/2012 7:04PM

Calder: Empire Builder proves equally adept on turf in Naked Greed

Coady Photography
Empire Builder, under J.J. Gonzales, cruises in the Naked Greed.

Empire Builder moved to the head of Calder’s 3-year-old division with a pair of overnight stakes victories over the main track earlier this summer. And from the looks of things, he may be even better on turf.

The versatile Empire Builder returned to the grass for the first time since finishing third in Gulfstream Park’s Kitten’s Joy Stakes in his 3-year-old debut to register a two length victory over Musical Flair in Saturday’s $75,000 Naked Greed Stakes at Calder. Bellefire finished another length farther back in third.

Empire Builder took control of the 7 1/2-furlong Naked Greed with a quick move on the far turn under jockey J.J. Gonzales and was never seriously menaced thereafter. A son of Kitten’s Joy, Empire Builder is owned and trained by Luis Duco. He paid $6.60.

Awesome Belle takes Crystal Rail

Awesome Belle, who had failed to hit the board in two previous turf starts, had little trouble negotiating the good  turf course at Calder on Saturday, leading throughout to register a 2 1/4-length decision over the 24-1 Obrigata in the $75,000 Crystal Rail Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Frolic’s Revenge, the 1-2 favorite, finished fifth.

Awesome Belle had been off her best form during the first half of the season but indicated she was back on her game after upsetting Frolic’s Revenge to win the Three Ring Stakes on the dirt in her last start. Despite that victory, she was overlooked in the wagering once again in the Crystal Rail, returning a generous $23.60 to win. 

Awesome Belle is a homebred daughter of Awesome of Course owned by her breeder Fred Brei. She is trained by Stanley Gold and was ridden to victory by Fernando Jara.