10/17/2007 11:00PM

Naughty New Yorker brings strong form

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
A dry track would help Naughty New Yorker in Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont.
ELMONT, N.Y. - Funny Cide is retired. Accountforthegold has been sold to a Dubai sheikh. Commentator and Oprah Winney are headed to the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

But virtually every other top New York-bred in training will be in action Saturday as Belmont Park plays host to New York Showcase Day, a 10-race card devoted entirely to horses bred in New York. There are seven traditional stakes with purses totaling $1 million and an overnight stakes with a purse of $75,000.

The $250,000 Empire Classic, with a nine-horse field headed by the multiple stakes winner Naughty New Yorker, is billed as the featured event on the 10-race card. But many observers will be equally as interested in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-old colts and geldings featuring Big Truck, who has won his first two starts. A son of Hook and Ladder, Big Truck is trained by Barclay Tagg, who won the 2002 Sleepy Hollow with Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Tagg, who is enjoying a banner year across the board, also has top contenders in the two major turf stakes on the program. Tagg will run Dave in $150,000 Mohawk Handicap for colts and geldings and Factual Contender in the $150,000 Ticonderoga for fillies and mares.

Gold and Roses will be back to defend his title in the $125,000 Hudson Handicap at six furlongs where he will meet the improving Stormin' Normandy, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. Dutrow has the filly to beat in the $125,000 Iroquois Handicap for filly and mare sprinters at seven furlongs. Dutrow will also send out favored Expect the End in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow for juvenile fillies.

The weather forecast for Saturday calls for dry conditions and temperatures in the lower 70s. However, Friday's forecast called for potentially heavy showers during the late afternoon and evening. Trainer Pat Kelly is hoping for a dry track for Naughty New Yorker, the morning-line favorite for the Empire Classic.

Though Naughty New Yorker won a maiden race by 10 1/2 lengths in the slop in 2004, he is 0 for 6 on wet tracks since. That includes a sixth-place finish in the 2005 Empire Classic. He also finished sixth in last year's Empire Classic.

Naughty New Yorker, a 5-year-old son of Quiet American, enters this year's Empire Classic in career form, having won the Saratoga Sunrise Stakes at Saratoga and the General Douglas MacArthur here on Sept. 7.

"We figured out he had some issues going on this spring that we didn't know were going on," Kelly said. "We remedied that and he's been very consistent since then."

The presence of Indian Hawke, Storm Boot Gold, and Run Red Run should make for a hotly contested pace, which also figures to help Naughty New Yorker, who will break from post 6 under Javier Castellano.

"The mile and an eighth is always cross your fingers with him," Kelly said. "Sometimes he settles, other times he wants to run at the half-mile pole. It's tricky."

At the beginning of the year, it looked as though Who What Win was ready for a breakthrough season, earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in two allowance wins over Aqueduct's inner track. He tailed off during the summer, but after a freshening he has come back with two solid races over this track in September.

He finished fourth to Naughty New Yorker in the MacArthur, but raced on the pace that day. He came back with a stalking victory in the Sherpa Guide. Trainer John Terranova hopes the third race off the layoff is Who What Win's best.

"He's really tuned up because he worked really well the other day," Terranova said. "I'm really looking forward to Saturday with him. I don't know that Belmont's his favorite place, with the one turn - maybe he's better running two turns [at Aqueduct] - but he's doing great right now so we're hoping to have a big impact."

French Transition and Building New Era all finished within a half-length of Who What Win in the Sherpa Guide.

Indian Hawke will have an impact from the outset as he comes off a front-running score, winning an allowance race by 12 3/4 lengths here on Oct. 3. That was his first start since being claimed by Tony Dutrow for $30,000.

"He's good," Dutrow said. "I'm well aware he's coming back quick off a big race. I don't know what he'll do. He might finish last, but right now he's good."

Dr. V's Magic will be a longshot in the Empire Classic, but he is a full brother to Organizer who won this race last year at 22-1. Lord Langfuhr is 0 for 12, but is trained by Allen Jerkens, who won this race in back-to-back years with Spite the Devil.

In addition to the 10 races, there will be a host of family activities on Saturday and Sunday, closing day of the Belmont fall meet. There is a craft fair featuring numerous vendors as well as several activities for kids and an appearance from Gloria Sophia Almonte, Miss New York USA.