10/15/2010 4:03PM

Galluscio loads up for New York Showcase Day

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Barbara D. Livingston
Stormy's Majesty (right), winner of the Albany Stakes at Saratoga, is pointing to the $200,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – When it comes to New York Showcase Day, Dominic Galluscio usually comes well prepared. He has won two runnings of the Empire Classic and one running each of the Sleepy Hollow and Maid of the Mist Stakes.

Next Saturday, when Belmont hosts the annual New York Showcase Day program – an entire card devoted to New York-breds – Galluscio once again figures to be prominent with three major players for the afternoon’s seven traditional stakes races.

Galluscio will send out Stormy’s Majesty in the $200,000 Empire Classic, Johannesburg Smile in the $125,000 Mohawk Handicap, and Pin Number in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Stormy’s Majesty, a 3-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic, is 4 for 4 against New York-breds while winless in two starts against open company. His biggest win to date came in the $100,000 Albany Stakes at Saratoga, in which he defeated 4-5 favorite Ibboyee by a neck. After that, he finished second to the graded stakes winner Colizeo in the $70,000 Star of Cozzene Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 2.

“He got stuck behind horses the other day,” Galluscio said. “The other horse got away him from a little bit.”

Stormy’s Majesty is one of four 3-year-olds being pointed to the Empire Classic, which is likely to have an 11-horse field led by Wishful Tomcat and Giant Moon. Others pointing to the race include Friend or Foe, Icabad Crane, Manteca, Mine Over Matter, Naughty New Yorker, Ruffino, and Star of New York.

Galluscio won the Empire Classic in 2006 with Organizer, who had finished second in the race a year earlier as a 3-year-old. Galluscio won the race in 2007 with the 3-year-old Dr. V’s Magic in 2007. Haynesfield, trained by Steve Asmussen, was a 3-year-old when he won this race last year.

“I think I could win it again with a 3-year-old,” Galluscio said.

Johannesburg Smile, who finished third in the Albany, was nominated to both the Empire Classic and the Mohawk, at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. On Friday, Galluscio appeared to be leaning toward the Mohawk.

In his only start on turf, Johannesburg Smile finished second to Yankee Fourtune in a first-level allowance race on the grass. Yankee Fourtune has won four consecutive turf races, including the Hawthorne Derby.

“I always thought he would like the turf,” Galluscio said of Johannesburg Smile. “He had a little bit of high action. Though he ran very well on dirt, I had a feeling he’d like the grass also.”

Johannesburg Smile is a half-brother to Stormy’s Smile, who won the Maid of the Mist Stakes for Galluscio in 2008. Galluscio’s other New York Showcase Day winner was Le Grande Danseur, who won the 2000 Sleepy Hollow.

This year, Galluscio will run Pin Number in the Sleepy Hollow. Pin Number won his debut at Saratoga but then was soundly beaten twice by Bug Juice in both the Aspirant and New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes. Bug Juice is expected to run in the Sleepy Hollow, which was shortened this year from one mile to seven furlongs.

“I wish that race was still a mile,” Galluscio said.

Palooza gets to keep this victory

After being disqualified from a maiden victory at Saratoga, the 2-year-old filly Palooza officially cleared the maiden ranks Thursday with a front-running, six-length victory at Belmont Park. A daughter of Hennessy, Palooza won an early speed duel and then went on to record her victory while running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.94. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 71.

“It was nice to see her come back and improve off the first race,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “It looks like she has a lot of talent. It was nice to see her bang heads early and not collapse off that pace.”

Albertrani said he wasn’t sure where Palooza would run next. At this point, Albertrani is of the opinion that Palooza will turn out to be a sprinter and his long-term objective would be the Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes on Jan. 5 at Gulfstream. Albertrani said he may look at the stakes program for sprinting fillies at Tampa Bay Downs as well.

“We’ll let the dust settle a little bit and see how she comes out of the race,” Albertrani said. “We might back off of her and give her a little time.”