The Champagne (BC) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Two Year Olds
One Mile on the Dirt
October 7, 2017
We are now less then a month away from the BC, which makes this a huge weekend of BC qualifiers. The BC Juvenile is always an exciting race in our game since two year old racing is a top priority in our virtual world, even though winning the Juvenile has not always equated to a successful TC season. The Champagne normally ends up as the most thrilling Juvenile qualifier, and has an impressive list of past winners. Ginger Haggis won this race last year, and just think about how far he has gone in a short period of time. Further back on the list is the great Five Fives. This is a race that has seen a variety of different trainers win, as no one has won the race more then once, and there are a couple of big name trainers looking to cross this off the list of Grade 1’s that they have not won yet. It’s a mixed field, featuring the winners of the DMR Futurity and the Hopeful, with those who have been on the cusp of the big win, to up and comers taking a leap in class. Let’s see how it goes, here’s the field!
#1- Motorboat (Aer Stables, ridden by J Alvarado)- Purchased in May in private sales for $55.000, Motorboat has won two of three races thus far. After his maiden win, he put together a strong looking victory in the $75.000 Saplin. This is a jump forward, but his winning time that day looks good, and he seems like a horse that simply knows how to show up on race day. He gets the rail on the top of that, and will be one of the better contenders in this field.
#2- Rod Steiger (Asgar, ridden by V Espinoza)- He’s never had a bad performance, and has earned a check in all of his starts, with top three finishes in five of six. Those are figures that look good, but only one of this is a win. Tough to get a true handle on him, as he looks like a horse that wants to go longer, but he is not yet gone longer then six and a half furlongs. I can see him having a very successful career, but think his biggest wins come next year. That’s not a bad thing.
#3- Gumshoe (EasyMoney Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Last month, this colt by Big Easy went out to DMR and picked up a win in the Grade 1 DMR Futurity. The victory would be the third of his five race career, which also includes winning the $125.000 Clarendon at WO. He’s been working well out west, and fired a bullet at six furlongs just a couple weeks ago at DMR. Past races show that he has a history of jumping out to the lead, but as the distance grows that can never be a certainty.
#4- Centerpiece (Mb Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- The trainer looks to win the Champagne for the first time, and he has what should be the post-time favorite here with Centerpiece. So far in his career, Centerpiece has done everything right with two wins and two seconds in four starts. One of those victories was up at the Spa for the Grade 1 Hopeful, and I particularly liked how he ran in the stretch to pick up that victory. There’s no reason to think he can’t do the same here at BEL, and especially if it means getting by Gumshoe.
#5- Walkin Broomstick (Smokey Stover, ridden by G Boulanger)- Despite being on the private sales market twice already in his young career, Walkin Broomstick has picked up good results with wins in half of his four starts. They are highlighted by the $100.000 Kiss A Native down at GP. Most recently, he ran in the Grade 2 Best Pal, where he was within a length as he finished fifth. He’s put together some good works for the race, and could be a sleeper here.
#6- Tune Me Up (John Henry, ridden by J R Leparoux)- For the jockey, he gets one of the longer shots on the board, probably, after riding Ginger Haggis to the winners circle last year. Tune Me Up only figures to not get a lot of play at the betting window due to inexperience. He’s raced three times, and has never gone more then five furlongs. Those races may have just been the trainer doing what his name implies, in giving him a tune up for the longer races. There is obviously no time if the trainer feels he is Juvenile worthy. Worked nicely on the 11th, but didn’t follow it up on the 22nd. Though there may be a very good reason why!
#7- Certain (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Like Tune Me Up, he is inexperienced at this level, but a difference is that he has a race over a mile under his belt. It was his lone win in his three career starts, where he made quick work of a smaller field at FE. He makes a big jump forward in his career, and I am certain that Certain has big things in front of him. Not sure that they come today, however.
#8- Candy Fusion (Double Cross Ranch, ridden by P Husbands)- This has turned in to one of the steals of the auction, as the trainer picked him up for just $2.350 and has done some big things with him already, including two wins in four career starts. However, it is a race that he did not win that is his most impressive run to date, as he was second, and within a quarter length of winning the Grade 2 Best Pal out at DMR in August. Candy Fusion has had time to rest and prepare for this race, and is working quite well. This will make him one of the top choices for the race, and he is very capable of getting the win.
#9- Theory (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J S Rocco Jr)- The colt by the great Niagra has made his dad proud early in his career with three wins in four starts, and he presently rides a three-race win streak. He’s been brought along a little more conservatively then the other top contenders here, but that’s not a problem. Up at SAR, he picked up a win in the $200.000 Funny Cide for NY-breds, a race that is always competitive. If you want to go outside the box of the two Grade 1 winners, this is your horse. Works are strong and I think this race may suit him very well based on how I think the pace will be.
#10- Rootin Tootin (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J J Hernandez)- He has been able to get some graded experience, running in the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 1 Sanford up at SAR. The Sanford did not go terribly well, but he finished it off decent in the Hopeful, running fourth. So far, he has one win in five starts, total. Other then looking at those numbers, I have a hard time getting a feel for him. His SRF was strong for the Hopeful, and I should be more optimistic, but the works are not as quick as others in here. It will benefit him that he has the graded experience, though.
#11- Wicked Orange (Allinthegate, ridden by A S Arroyo)- After winning his debut race, Wicked Orange has seemed to be on the brink of winning another big one, but has just come up short. He has two graded stakes under his belt, including his last start, the Grade 3 Iroquois three weeks ago at CD. In that race, he came from out of no where to be up for third. His running style will have other jockeys checking for his whereabouts in the stretch. He can win like that again, but I would not him to be more then five or six lengths out midway through based on a couple others here.
#12- U Cant Host (Crocker Ggs, ridden J Bravo)- Interesting entry, not because of a lack of talent, but because of wondering where he’s been since late May. Scored a big win in a maiden at PRX at that time, and has not raced this. Jumping off a layoff, with no stake experience, into the Champagne is a tough assignment. Anything can happen though, but if it does, the draw gave him an additional obstacle to overcome. The time is now, though, if the trainer feels U Cant Host is good enough.