The $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) for two-year-olds will be run for the 148th time on Saturday at Belmont Park going a one-turn mile on the dirt. A field of seven is expected, and the race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series that will guarantee the winner a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) as well as a points race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1).
#1 ALPHA SIXTY SIX was a very impressive debut winner at even money going 6 ½ furlongs here at Belmont Park. He broke slowly from a wide post and was hung outside for the entire trip. Racing four wide around the turn behind a slow pace, he put away the two horses to his inside and then went and ran down a leader that saved all the ground after sneaking through on the rail. His final margin of a neck might not look too exciting but his BRIS Late Pace number of 94 is excellent and he drew away from the horse with no whip encouragement. Johnny Velazquez stays here to ride him instead of shipping to Keeneland to ride Gouverneur Morris.
#2 TRUCULENT showed good speed when third in his career debut going 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt at Indiana Downs then he came back on the turf at Ellis Park and he missed by a head going a two-turn mile in very fast time. Jack Sisterson adds blinkers today but he has to improve a lot to fit with these.
#3 GREEN LIGHT GO romped by three lengths in his career debut back in July here going 5 ½ furlongs in fast time. He came back and won the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) last out when he sat off a blazing pace and pulled away to an easy lead in very fast time. Jimmy Jerkens has spread his races out and he returns off an eight-week layoff. By Hard Spun out of a dam by Pleasantly Perfect so distance is no problem and he showed high cruising speed in his stakes debut.
#4 THREE TECHNIQUE was a good second in his second career start going six furlongs in fast time at Saratoga behind Basin who came back to win the Hopeful Stakes (G1) by over six lengths on a sloppy track. Jeremiah Englehart brought the colt owned by Bill Parcells back in a seven-furlong maiden at Saratoga and he won by five lengths in faster time than the Hopeful was run (albeit on a different day). He made up a tremendous amount of ground that day while racing wide and has worked well for this.
#5 GOZILLA went gate to wire to break his maiden by over four lengths going six furlongs in fast time. He came back in the Hopeful Stakes over a sloppy track and he tired in the last furlong as the favorite. He stretches out another furlong for Steve Asmussen but the early pace might be very contested today.
#6 BIG CITY BOB broke his maiden by a nose in his second start at Monmouth Park then he came back there and won the Sapling Stakes going two turns on the dirt. The final time was slow and the margin was small so it doesn’t look like he can run with these without major improvement.
#7 TIZ THE LAW beat New York-breds in his Saratoga career debut when he sat just off the pace and exploded in the lane to win by over four lengths. He has trained extremely well since then and draws the outside for a clear run down the long backside. Not sure if he can handle the move up in class and distance but he earned the highest BRIS speed rating of this group and he is sired by the red-hot Constitution.
Top Picks for the Champagne Stakes
- #4 Three Technique
- #3 Green Light Go
- #1 Alpha Sixty Six
- #7 Tiz The Law
- $50 Win
- $25 Exacta Box
- #3, #4
Three Technique draws off in his convincing Saratoga maiden win (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography