Barese Looks for More Stakes Success in Empire Classic

October 29, 2022

Barese won the Gander at Aqueduct Feb. 12, 2022, at Aqueduct earning Black Type. Photo by Susie Raisher

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Barese found his best stride earlier this year at Aqueduct Racetrack, scoring a pair of state-bred stakes wins in the Rego Park and Gander and convincing his connections to test deeper waters in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. 

After his brief tenure on the Kentucky Derby trail this spring and trips to Thistledown and Finger Lakes this summer, Barese returns to the Big A looking for more stakes success in Sunday’s $250,000 Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up traveling nine furlongs over the main track on Closing Day of the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. 

Peter Proscia of Paradise Farms Corp. said he looks forward to seeing Barese back at Aqueduct for his first start off a two-month respite. 

“He’s training very well into the race and has had the time we wanted to give him,” said Proscia. “It’s a good spot and we have to go against the older horses, but it’s a restricted race and we’re excited about it. He likes that track and we expect a big effort.” 

Trained by Mike Maker, Barese’s two Aqueduct stakes wins were part of a three-race win streak that the son of Laoban posted to kick off his career, beginning with a debut maiden score last May at Belmont Park when defeating a field that included subsequent graded stakes winner Coinage. After an eight-month respite, he returned with his victories in the Rego Park and Gander, which were won in off-the-pace fashion by 2 3/4 lengths and 1 1/4 lengths, respectively, before running an even fifth in the Wood Memorial. 

Proscia said Barese was well worth the wait. 

“We thought it was best to give him time to grow up and now he has shown up well,” said Proscia. “He’s had some harder company and showed he could run in there. He’s turned out to be a real nice horse, and as a New York-bred, that’s been a great.” 

Barese cut back to sprinting in his next outing, finishing third in the NYSSS Times Square at 6 1/2 furlongs before stretching back out to nine furlongs in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown where he finished fourth. Returning to state-bred company proved to be the right move for Barese in his next outing, romping to a four-length score under Ricardo Santana, Jr. to equal his career-best Beyer of 89. He arrives at the Empire Classic off a runner-up finish to Bossmakinbossmoves in the Albany going nine furlongs over a sloppy and sealed Saratoga main track on August 26. 

“The two turns on Sunday is a challenge, but he ran a big race last time going two turns,” said Proscia. “The slop might have been tough, and the winner liked it a bit better than we did. We’re hoping for a big effort. Mike and his team have done a great job.” 

Proscia said Barese has found his niche with prominent trips in routes after starting off his career as an off-the-pace sprinter. 

“I think he’s gotten closer to lead as he’s going longer,” said Proscia. “He’s been strategically placed properly in his last starts. I think he’s an above average horse and can compete in open company. Mike just thought this would be a good race for him now. We’ll see what happens here and take it one race at a time.”

Barese drew post 2 with Manny Franco in the irons, something Proscia said he is pleased with. 

“The two turn races when he’s gotten good post position have been good and saving ground is important, so I expect the same thing in there,” said Proscia. 

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, Barese has banked over $370,000 in total purses through a record of 8-4-1-1. Barese is out of the unraced Successful Appeal mare Right Prevails, a full-sister to graded stakes winner Closing Argument. He was a $150,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale and is a full-brother to stakes-placed Breakfastatbonnies.

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