Here’s a Toast for Our Champagne Field

The Champagne (BC) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Two Year Olds
One Mile on the Dirt
October 2, 2021

The BC Juvenile is one of the most exciting races in the game, as not only is it a championship race for two year olds, it provides bragging rights and an early favorite for the KYD next year. The Champagne is one of the great prep races for it, and the 19th edition of the race is set to go on Saturday. It is a race that has been won by the great Five Fives, as well as Ginger Haggis and Centerpiece. Last year, Smokin Luka got the win in the race for Mb Stables, and finished third in the BC Juvenile a month later. It’s debatable how successful he has been this year, since he never stepped foot in a TC race. We would see the likes of Cheesy and Tko in the race. But don’t worry if your two year old isn’t ready to run at this level. On this date last year, Howl Of The Hound was only a couple weeks after making his debut. The gate is full this year, and several of these have been talked about quite a bit within the game, but there are some not as known names ready to make an impression of their own. Let’s meet the field!

#1- Loquacious Luka (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)- Another Luka looks to win this race, and this time Night Rider has held on to him. Other than his maiden win, though, this colt has not really done anything to stand out. Was a decent fourth in the Grade 2 SAR Special, so with that he’ll keep getting chances to get a big result, but he’s been doing a lot of talking and not a lot of smokin’ so far.

#2- Mount Tongariro (Smokey Stover, ridden by D Davis)- After breaking his maiden, he was entered into the Grade 1 DMR Futurity, and he never got involved in any capacity. Perhaps it was the break, because his two prior races show him near the front early, but in the DMR Futurity he was eight lengths back at the start. I would expect to see him try a stalking trip or at least be in the first half of the field early on here.

#3- Statuesque (Mb Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Ran very well over his first four races, finishing second in both the Grade 2 SAR Special and the Grade 3 Sanford. Then, a very similar thing happened to him as did Mount Tongariro in his last start. Statuesque was uncharacteristically left behind at the start in the Grade 1 Hopeful, and did not beat any of his rivals. His start will be important as well.

#4- Hilarity (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- While Statuesque was finishing dead last in the Hopeful at SAR, Hilarity did much better, earning the hard nosed win. That victory made him a perfect 4-for-4 for his career. Prior to the Hopeful, he was the winner of the SAR Special, so he has certainly shown that he has plenty of heart. Perhaps there are some concerns if he will still be racing like this in May, but for now, he has done nothing wrong, and I don’t think he will have a problem running a mile for the first time as he is working quite well.

#5- Grouse Mountain (John Henry, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- It is not easy right now to be a horse with late running style, as it seems like you have to be near the front to have a chance to win. However, Grouse Mountain has made it work for him, as he has shown strong closing kick in each of his races. That said, it did only get him up to fourth in his last start, the DMR Futurity, but you would think he’d like the added distance here.

#6- Number Theory (Mb Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Made his debut last month on soft MTH turf and picked up a four length win. Off of that, the trainer is running him here, and a big part of that decision was likely a great mile work here on the 15th of September. Others have done more here, but when you are also entering Statuesque and Hilarity, you can take a longer shot with another one.

#7- Lord Cherokee (Arindel, ridden by Mar Garcia)- This one got plenty of action in at SAR, making three starts, taking advantage of the great MSW purses that are offered at the Spa. In his third try, he would get his win, coming at the very end of August at six furlongs. Since then, it looks like the trainer has been testing him out to see what he could do running longer, and he had put together some promising works.

#8- North Island (Smokey Stover, ridden by E Jaramillo)- A horse with only two starts as of now, running second at the bullring at CT until getting some time to rest as the trainer did not feel the need to rush him along. At DMR last month, he made that second start and got the win and now the Falling Angel colt is getting quite a test. He has also had a steady diet of mile works leading into the race, and they show promise. That of course, is a pretty common theme with several of these.

#9- Comanche Panther (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by M J Sanchez)- If you think your horse has the ability to be in the BC Juvenile, and he is still a maiden, you have to take a shot as time is running out. That seems to be the mindset here as Comanche Panther has not won any of his five starts (and has only been second once). His last mile work, from August, will not get it done here, so I’d imagine there has been steady improvement on the farm.

#10- Rudy Is With Me (Fractious, ridden by D E Centeno)- A horse with one win out of four starts, coming at LA in July. Off of that, he took on several of these in the Grade 2 SAR Special, but was sixth, and did not finish ahead of any of the ones he sees again here. He went to the Im Smokin Stakes, for CA breds at DMR last month, and ran second. Must take a step forward from that to beat this crowd.

#11- Up In Smoke (Jive Inc., ridden D Moran)- There has been plenty of chatter around this horse, and it began early with his impressive performance at DMR Trials. It’s great to see that he has continued to build on that as well, since we don’t always see that happen. He’s smoked the field in three races so far, highlighted by winning the DMR Futurity last month by going wire to wire. He did that from post 10, so he will be able to handle this post, too. It’s exciting to see the Hopeful and the DMR Futurity winners going head to head here. Works are fantastic, and we’ll be hearing about him a lot and for a while, I believe.

#12- Come To Poppa (South Shore Stables, ridden by P Morales)- He was a bit of a surprise last month, finishing second to Hilarity in the Hopeful at odds of 20/1. Leading into that race, he had one win out of four starts, and the other races were not convincing at all. Is he an inconsistent horse, or is he a horse that is just taking a little longer to find his way. How he follows that race up is pivotal for him.

Prediction: 11-4-5-12

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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