11/16/2011 5:37PM

Hollywood Park: Empire Way eyes CashCall Futurity after maiden win


Empire Way’s flashy maiden race win Sunday could lead to a start in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 17.

Trainer Mike Harrington said the come-from-behind style of Empire Way’s win in his career debut makes the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles a viable option.

“I’m going to be fairly ambitious,” he said. “I’m looking at the CashCall Futurity. If he doesn’t make it, I’ve got plenty of options.”

A full brother to Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta, Empire Way is owned by Heinz Steinmann and was acquired in the spring, before Royal Delta had won her first stakes. His value soared as the year progressed.

“It’s one of those things you see other people fall into, but seldom does it happen to you,” Harrington said.

Empire Way, by Empire Maker, was ridden by Joel Rosario on Sunday. Empire Way closed from last in a field of five with minimal urging and won by a half-length, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.93.

Harrington has a major 2-year-old in his stable in Creative Cause, who won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita last month and was third in the BC Juvenile on Nov. 6. Creative Cause will not start again until 2012. Harrington said it is possible that Empire Way and Creative Cause could meet, though he is hoping to avoid such a scenario.

“There should be races where they don’t overlap,” he said. “They’ve got different styles. I’m not worried about running them against each other, if I had to.”

Creative Cause, winner of 3 of 5 starts and $521,000, is currently being walked on a daily basis at Harrington’s stable at Hollywood Park.

“He’s feeling great,” Harrington said.

Creative Cause and Empire Way were two of three promising 2-year-olds that Steinmann bought last fall. The third, French Storm, is an A.P. Indy colt who could race before the end of the current Hollywood Park meeting, which runs through Dec. 18. Harrington insists there is no hurry with any of them.

“They were all bought to be two-turn 3-year-olds,” he said.

Harmonious to remain in training

Harmonious, winner of two Grade 1 races in 2010 but winless in six starts this year, will stay in training in 2012, owner-breeder Marty Wygod said Wednesday.

“We’re going to freshen her for 60 days and bring her back,” he said. “We’re going to race her.”

Trained by John Shirreffs, Harmonious, 4, finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 as a 15-1 longshot. She was as close as fifth, but faded in the stretch. In 2010, Harmonious was 10th in the BC Filly and Mare Turf after winning the American Oaks at Hollywood Park and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland for 3-year-old fillies earlier in the year.

Wygod said the presence of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita next November was part of the decision to keep Harmonious in training. By Dynaformer, Harmonious has won 4 of 13 starts and $625,420.