10/29/2007 12:00AM

Empire Maker runners improve with distance

EmailBelmont

Here they come. In the first half of the season for 2-year-olds, runners from the first crop of Empire Maker were, for the most part, conspicuous by their absence. The more precocious offspring of such freshman sires as Posse, Harlan's Holiday, Proud Citizen, and Hook and Ladder were flashing their speed and winning sprints, but as expected, late-maturing runners by Empire Maker are beginning to assert themselves as the distances increase for juveniles.

In addition to Country Star, who won the Alcibiades Stakes in just her second start, Empire Maker is getting winners around the country, and trainer Bobby Frankel, who trained Empire Maker, has a barnful of runners by the talented son of Unbridled.

On Oct. 19, Mushka, a 2-year-old filly by Empire Maker out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sluice, won a one-mile maiden race for trainer Bill Mott. Sluice is out of stakes winner Lakeway.

On Oct. 28, Turn Away, a 2-year-old filly by Empire Maker, won a seven-furlong maiden race by 9 1/4 lengths for Frankel. Turn Away is out of the Known Fact mare Averti, a half-sister to Defensive Play.

* On Oct. 19, the prolific broodmare Multiply (by Easy Goer) added another winner to her resume when Be Fruitful won a seven-furlong maiden race by seven lengths. The 2-year-old filly by Pulpit is a full sister to Corinthian, who earned the title of the best dirt miler of 2007 with his emphatic 6 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Corinthian also defeated a top-class field, including Lawyer Ron, in the Metropolitan Handicap earlier in the year. Multiply is also the dam of stakes winner Desert Hero (Sea Hero) and Vitruvius (E Dubai).

* Coal Play won a one-mile maiden race Oct. 21 for Nick Zito. A stablemate of BC Juvenile winner War Pass, Coal Play is from Horse of the Year Mineshaft's first crop. Coal Play is out of the Kris S. mare Wiscasset, and his second dam is stakes winner Tara Roma. This is the illustrious female family of Queena, Brahms, Too Chic, and French star Monade.

Bay Meadows

Put It Back, a son of speed influence Honour and Glory, was a top-class sprinter, winning the Riva Ridge and Best Turn stakes. His notable stakes winners are sprinters In Summation and Smokey Stover, as well as Group 3 Japanese winner Black Bar Spin. On Oct. 18, High Resolve, a 2-year-old filly by Put It Back, won a six-furlong optional claiming allowance by seven lengths. Undefeated in her only two starts, her next start will be in stakes company. High Resolve is the latest budding star for the tandem of owner Harry J. Aleo and trainer Greg Gilchrist, who brought us Lost in the Fog and Smokey Stover. High Resolve descends from the very influential producer Boudoir, and Kelso, Majestic Prince, and the full brothers Graustark and His Majesty come from this fabled female family.

* Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has a nice-looking 2-year-old gelding, Moonlit Master, who won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race Oct. 21. By Mizzen Mast, he is out of the Broad Brush mare Miss Moonlight, and this solid female line produced stakes winner Grafitti and Blushing John.

Delaware

Freshman sire Proud Citizen is a young sire on the rise. In addition to Matron Stakes winner Proud Spell, who was a game second behind front-running Indian Blessing in the BC Juvenile Fillies, he is getting winners regularly around the country. On Oct. 20, Eagle's Song, who was seventh in her previous start, was dismissed by bettors at 13-1 and stormed to a 2 1/2-length victory in a six-furlong maiden race for trainer Larry Jones, who also trains Proud Spell and Hard Spun, who was second in another gutsy performance behind Curlin in the BC Classic.

* While not bred for next year's classics, Steve Assmussen's 2-year-old colt Langley could turn out to be a sprinting star. Langley won a five-furlong maiden race by seven lengths and is by Forestry out of the Deputy Minister mare Savannah Bayou, who is out of Gold Rush Queen.

Keeneland

Strike another winner for an Easy Goer mare. On Oct. 12, Monba, a 2-year-old colt by the late Maria's Mon out of Easy Goer's daughter Hamba, scored an impressive 4 1/4-length victory at about seven furlongs in a maiden race for Todd Pletcher in her career debut. Hamba is a half-sister to stakes winners Secret Hello, Silent Account, and the sire Hadif. Despite her pedigree and connections, Monba paid $21.80.

Oak Tree at Santa Anita

Freshman sire Volponi was sold to foreign interests before his first crop ever got to race. In addition to Clearly Foxy, who was undefeated on turf and was unplaced in the BC Juvenile Fillies in her first try on the main track, Volponi is the sire of Reel Prime, a 2-year-old colt out of the Bates Motel mare Will Be a Bates. Volponi was a versatile runner, winning stakes on turf and dirt and, of course, will always be remembered for his daylight victory in the BC Classic at Arlington for the late Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson. His offspring should also be just as versatile, and they are already winning on all surfaces.