The $250,000 Champagne S. (G1) will be run Saturday for the 149th time as race 4 at Belmont Park. The race for 2-year-olds will be run at a mile on the main track and is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series where the nominated winner will gain an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). It is also part of the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby series with 10-4-2-1 points going to the top four finishers. The last Champagne winner to come back and win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was Uncle Mo in 2010.
Top Picks for the Champagne S.
- #4 Jackie’s Warrior
- #5 Reinvestment Risk
- #6 Midnight Bourbon
- #1 Ambivalent
Betting the Champagne S.
$50 exacta: 4 – 5
Champagne S. Contenders
#1 Ambivalent is still a maiden after four starts but he is stakes-placed on dirt and turf. Doug O’Neill added blinkers last out and he missed by a length going two turns on the turf at Del Mar. Son of Constitution has been training at Belmont the past month and draws the rail with Johnny Velazquez.
#2 Run Casper Run was an even third in his career debut going 5 furlongs on the turf at Colonial Downs then came back there and broke his maiden at the same distance on the dirt. Off for 66 days, he returns for Juan Vazquez, who only wins 9% in this spot but is having a good year overall. Son of Ghostzapper seems to have enough pedigree being out of a dam by Quiet American but would have to improve by 10 lengths just to get into the money.
#3 Civil War rallied against the prevailing speed bias at Monmouth Park to break his maiden by a nose against modest maiden claimers going 5 1/2 furlongs and now moves up in class and distance for Tom Albertrani who is 0-for-45 first time going long. The son of Bodemeister is out of a dam by Birdstone (won this race in 2001). In 2020 election terms, I can’t see a path to victory for him.
#4 Jackie’s Warrior is probably the best, as of right now, of Steve Asmussen’s many 2-year-olds this season. After breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs time out going 5 furlongs in fast time back in June, he shipped to Saratoga and dominated the Saratoga Special (G2) going 6 furlongs in 1:09.62 seconds. There were questions about how tough the competition that day but none when he came back and won the Hopeful S. (G1) by over two lengths while throttled down going 7 furlongs. His running time that day of 1:21.29 seconds was the second-fastest of the entire meet behind only Test S. (G1) winner Gamine. Son of Maclean’s Music is training on the deepish Oklahoma training track and gets Joel Rosario. Did I mention that the third-place finisher of the Hopeful, Mutasaabeq, who was beaten 10 1/2 lengths, came back to win the Bourbon S. (G2) last weekend?
#5 Reinvestment Risk ran to his looks when he broke his maiden by almost eight lengths at Saratoga going 6 furlongs. In fact, he looked so good that day that he came back in the Hopeful S. and went off as the even-money favorite against Jackie’s Warrior next time out. Chasing a brutal pace, the son of good young sire Upstart rallied wide in the stretch but never really threatened. That said, he gave every indication that another furlong should not be a problem and Chad Brown wins an amazing 32% stretching out. There is nothing not to like other than as good as his race was in the Hopeful was, he was beaten decisively.
#6 Midnight Bourbon broke his maiden second time out going this distance at Ellis Park when he relaxed just off the pace. His second in the Iroquois S. (G3) last out going a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs was visually impressive considering his ground loss. Steve Asmussen gets Jose Ortiz to ride and usually we could expect him to be aggressive away from the gate. But, he is a stablemate of Jackie’s Warrior so I would not expect Ortiz to go on a suicide mission here. Son of Tiznow should have no problem getting the distance being a half-brother to Girvin, winner of the Haskell (G1) going 9 furlongs.