02/02/2012 5:19PM

Santa Anita: Empire Way could be live longshot in Lewis

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Empire Way, a 3-year-old full brother to the 2011 champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta, may be slightly overlooked in Saturday’s $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes.

With Liaison and Rousing Sermon, the first two finishers of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last month in the field, Empire Way will be a longshot. Fifth in the CashCall Futurity, Empire Way has drawn post 7 in a field of eight, leaving trainer Mike Harrington confident that an upset is possible.

“I like the draw really well,” he said. “The last two times he’s been shuffled back. On the outside he won’t get shuffled back. He should get a trip.”

The Lewis Stakes, a key prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, will dictate to some extent how far Empire Way goes in the Triple Crown preps in coming months. Harrington expects a big performance, but is equally excited about Empire Way’s long-term prospects. Royal Delta improved significantly in the second half of her 3-year-old season.

“If he wins, we know we’ve got a good horse,” Harrington said. “I’m expecting him to run a good race. I think he’ll go further.

“He’ll be better this fall than he is now. He doesn’t have to win this race for me to be happy. His sister didn’t get good until later.”

Empire Way is owned by Heinz Steinmann, who also has Creative Cause with Harrington. Third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November, Creative Cause will make his 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 19.

“He’s doing super,” Harrington said. “The last two days, he’s trained very well.”

Robert B. Lewis S. (G2), Post Time: 3:05 PT Saturday

Purse: $200,000; 1 1/16 miles

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Isn't He Clever

H. Dominguez

C. Nakatani

 

1

Liason

B. Baffert

R. Bejarano

 

1

Groovin' Solo

M. Cho

V. Espinoza

 

1

I'll Have Another

D. O'Neill

M. Gutierrez

 

1

Sky Kingdom

B. Baffert

M. Garcia

 

1

Rousing Sermon

J. Hollendorfer

J. Talamo

 

1

Empire Way

M. Harrington

J. Rosario

 

1

Chips All In

J. Mullins

A. Quinonez