Get to Know The Champagne

The Champagne (BC) (KYD) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Two Year Olds
One Mile on the Dirt
October 6, 2018

With a month to go until the BC Juvenile, the Champagne always provides us a great look not only with horses we may see running in that race, but which ones may emerge as the biggest threats as three year olds. Many good ones have won here, including Five Fives in 2009. The last two winners, Ginger Haggis and Centerpiece also went on to experience great successes. As we look at our field of eleven for this race, we see plenty of talent, and potential. Plenty of reasons for trainers to be dreaming of success. Some will have it, some won’t. For now, they meet in a race that many of us look forward to. Here’s the field!

#1- Free At Last (Eastern Equine, ridden by A A Gallardo)- Broke his maiden in his second career start last month in a statebred at DMR, earning an SRF of 89 in the process. In achieving this, he jumped out to the lead and simply did not take his foot off the gas. Starting on the rail would seem to be perfect for him to run that way again. Ran well in the stretch, so I see no reason to worry about the added distance.

#2- Whats The Big Idea (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J Bravo)- The big idea is the BC in a month, and this El Gran Latro colt has put forth four quality starts in his career, even if only one of them has resulted in a win. A 92 SRF was earned two starts ago when he was the runner up in the $100.000 Graduation Stakes for CA-breds, and that type of run will need to be duplicated. You have to like that he is always in the mix at the end.

#3- Bo Knows (Smokey Stover, ridden by J Alvarado)- Bo knows horse racing? He’s had plenty of experience to show his abilities on the race track, with three wins in five starts. The FL-bred has done very well running in those great races of the FL Sire Stakes, and he won this last start in one, which was the Affirmed. That was a seven furlong race, and you really have to be impressed with how he finished it off. Bo may know the BC soon.

#4- Hymnal (Williams9, ridden by D Davis)- The trainer looks for the biggest win of his career, and is certainly someone to root for in a race likes this. He brings Hymnal to the gate, a winner of three out of five starts, which is highlighted by winning an allowance at 1 1/16 on a rain-soaked day right here at BEL last month. Davis has been his regular rider, and they’ll look for their consecutive win together.

#5- Top Hat (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Just a few days ago, this one was purchased by Mb Stables in private sales for $100.000. He immediately puts him into this race, which is not something I am used to seeing out of Mb Stables. Maybe other trainers, but not him as much. He comes off a second place run at the always tougher then advertised $75.000 Saplin at MTH. Top Hat was introduced to his new trainer with a first day geld. Talk about a tough welcome, but we’ll see if its worthwhile!

#6- Call It A Come Back (Estero Farms, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Looking for his next Pretty Ferro, there is still plenty of talent in this trainer’s barn. Call It A Come Back fits in pretty nicely, and in name only, would be a great one to follow the lead of Pretty Ferro. He is one of three in his early career, and recently ran third in the Grade 1 Hopeful in an impressive showing. He will like that this race is a little longer then that one was.

#7- Commanding Bee (Serenity Stables, ridden by M J Sanchez)- He has won just one out of four in his career this far, but with just a little more luck at the very end, he could also be a perfect four-for-four, as he has had his picture taken with the winner at the wire in every race. Most recently, he was second in the Grade 1 DMR Futurity, being narrowly defeated by Weak Sheik. Impressive consistency with this one, and he will only get better as the races get longer. Should run well here, but if he does not win, I still feel we will see a lot of him as a three year old at this level.

#8- Candlestick (Mb Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- It would be an incredible story if this one were to win, since he is out of the same mare that produced last year’s Champagne winner, Centerpiece. He is not quite at his older brother’s level yet, but he has turned in two wins in five starts, with one being an ungraded win. He was disappointing in his last two attempts, each at the graded level. However, he may just be waiting to run longer, and we’ll get a good chance to see how he stacks up in this division, and in comparison to Centerpiece.

#9- Precious Diplomat (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by P Husbands)- There is plenty of excitement in this barn right now concerning two year olds, and a win in the Champagne would just be another great step forward for the trainer’s juvenile class. He had a good breeze at AQU last week, which is important because while there is nothing wrong with his resume coming into the race, it doesn’t have the same appeal as others in here. Would have preferred to see a win in the four-horse Aspirant at FL, rather then a third last month.

#10- Harley Street- Scratched

#11- Conformity (Spongebob, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- A large price was paid for this one, to the tune of $400.000, on the last day of August, by Spongebob, from Night Rider Stables. This will be his first race in his new silks. He’s been good so far, but still has just one win in four starts. He is a bit like Commanding Bee, though, in that while he has not won more then that, he has always been close, and has always been within a length from victory. A big key will be how he handles this distance. His last mile work, coming in late August won’t get it done here, so hopefully there was another reason for that.

#12- Beach Dandy- Scratched

#13- Where You At (Rampage Stable, ridden by J Rosario)- The survivor contest is using this race, and we are seeing Where You At becoming a pretty common survivor pick. The doubt is probably a combination of his starting post, and that he still has a little to prove. He comfortably wired the field in his last start at seven furlongs, which is good, but it was at the CT bullring against WV-breds.

Prediction: 3-7-1-4

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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