03/25/2012 3:31PM

Santa Anita: Empire Way taken off Kentucky Derby trail

Shigeki Kikkawa
Empire Way, a closing second in the Robert Lewis but ninth in the San Felipe two weeks ago, will not run in any more Kentucky Derby preps this spring.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Empire Way, runner-up in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes in February, but ninth in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 10, is off the Kentucky Derby trail, trainer Mike Harrington said on Sunday.

Empire Way is likely to make a start in an allowance race later this spring, Harrington said.

“I backed off him a little while,” he said. “He needed a little time.

He’s definitely off the Derby trail.

“When he comes back, I’ll run him in an allowance race. I still think he’s a good horse. He’s still training.”

A full brother to 2011 champion older female Royal Delta, Empire Way has 1 win in 5 starts and earnings of $112,000 for owner Heinz Steinmann.

Harrington and Steinmann are firmly on the Kentucky Derby trail with Creative Cause, the winner of the San Felipe. Creative Cause will make his next start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

On March 20, Creative Cause had his first work since the San Felipe, going five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Hollywood Park, the fastest of 29 recorded works at the distance.

“He’s starting to work faster on his own, which is a good sign,”

Harrington said. “It shows he’s full of energy.”