The Champagne (Grade 1) (BC)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Two Year Olds
One Mile on the Dirt
October 5, 2019
The Grade 1 Champagne is one of the great races in preparation for the BC Juvenile. While it is not necessarily an indicator of future greatness, there have been legendary horses that have picked up the win here. It is the tenth anniversary (a statement that in itself might make some players here feel old), of Five Fives’ win, and we all know what he went on to do. Last year’s winner was Bo Knows, while he knew Champagne victory, he has not known another victory since that race. Beach Dandy could have raced in the Champagne, but he was scratched from the race. This year, there will be a field of twelve. Here’s a quick look at them!
#1- Milan (Smokey Stover, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- Has only raced once his career, but made it count in a PA-bred race at PEN at the end of August. Worked well at PRX, and this time of year if you think the horse has a chance at the BC, you have to swing for the fence, which is what the trainer is doing.
#2- High One (Gdp Inc., ridden by M J Sanchez)- A winner of two out of three and includes at the Grade 3 Sanford at SAR in July. He tried to pull off the Sanford-Hopeful double last month, but finished fifth in that race.
#3- Dragster (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by E J Wilson)- Speaking of the Hopeful, that was won by Dragster, doing so while coming from off the pace. He looks like he is only going to get better as the races get longer, and we can count on this trainer having many solid two year old contenders.
#4- Fancy This (Fractious, ridden by J Alvarado)- I guess Fractious isn’t leaving after all. After selling many good horses, he purchased this one from Mb Stables for $350.000. Welcome back, Fractious! As for the horse, he was involved in a couple of photos for wins in the SAR Special and the Hopeful.
#5- Sail Away (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Looks like the Hopeful had a dead for the win, so Dragster and Sail Away can for the rematch here in the Champagne. Dragster caught Sail Away in that race, so Sail Away will have to adapt to that at this longer distance. Mb will figure something out, don’t worry.
#6- Tephra (Mb Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Came from well back to win one of the game’s greatest races, the World Trade Center Memorial. Wish the game provided a stake history for that, given how long it has run. This will be his first race against graded competition.
#7- Grease (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J R Leparoux)- His last three races have all been north of the border taking on fellow Canadians. To date, his only win in five starts was his maiden, but he has been knocking on the door in all of his starts, so may just need a little more racing luck.
#8- Big Belly Jockey (Night Rider Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- Ran second in his last start, narrowly missing out on victory at the $200.000 Funny Cide for NY breds. Does a good job of being in the mix, but is hoping to turn that into more victories. So far, he’s only won at FON.
#9- Not So Nice (La Canada Racehorses, ridden by P Lopez)- This is a first time gelding, having undergone the snip a couple weeks ago. That can lead to great results, so we’ll see what happens here. He had been fine up until his last race, the DMR Futurity, which was not so nice.
#10- Mystery (Allinthegate, ridden by J L Ortiz)- He comes out of the Funny Cide just like Big Belly Jockey does. For Mystery, that resulted in a third place finish, half a length behind the horse he sees here again. In a longer race, the edge would seem to go to the rival, so look for a tactical adjustment. Maybe.
#11- Creative Twizt (Asgar, ridden by L Contreras)- This one has been off to a sharp start in his career, with three wins in four starts. It was just a couple weeks ago where he won the $100.000 Bull Page Stakes at WO, for ON-breds, and this will be his graded debut.
#12- Declassified- Scratched
#13- Steel Champion (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J Bravo)- The scratch of Declassified allows for Steel Champion to run, and he will be looking to follow up his maiden win successfully here. It came in his fourth start, running a smart race at a mile at GG. The post is his biggest obstacle.