06/09/2010 12:00AM

Things look good for Soaring Empire


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The way Soaring Empire worked on June 3 had trainer Cam Gambolati feeling confident about the colt's chances in the Grade 3, $200,000 Pegasus Stakes on June 19 at Monmouth Park. The way the Belmont Stakes unfolded two days later pushed his confidence level even higher.

Soaring Empire was clocked in 59.40 seconds in his June 3 work, the fastest of the 31 works at five furlongs that morning at Monmouth.

"He worked extremely well," Gambolati said. "He worked with a pretty good allowance horse and he was far behind early before he caught him. He's run against the best horses. It's just a question of maturity and putting it together. I think he's finally coming around."

And then there was the Belmont.

Soaring Empire finished fourth most recently in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park, running uncharacteristically close to the pace into a very strong wind.

Fly Down beat Drosselmeyer in the Dwyer, only to see that finish reversed in the Belmont - a development that stamped the Dwyer a key race.

"I think it's very competitive among all these 3-year-olds," Gambolati said. "You just have to step up a little bit more, and you can compete with them."

Formerly a late-season event at the Meadowlands, the Pegasus gives horses who are possibly headed to the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on Aug. 1 a graded race over the track.

For right now, Gambolati isn't looking beyond the Pegasus for Soaring Empire, a son of Empire Maker who is 2 for 5.