Champagne Stakes

Breeders' Cup Challenge Series > Champagne Stakes

Champagne Stakes

Champagne Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Belmont At The Big A, Ozone Park, NY
  • Inaugural Race: 1867
  • Distance: 1 mile (8 furlongs)
  • Track Type: Left-handed, Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Two Year Olds
  • 2023 Purse: $500,000
  • 2023 Race Date: Saturday, October 7th

2023 Champagne Stakes Race Results

Florent Geroux / Brad H. Cox
$11.80 / $5.00 / $4.10
General Partner
Manuel Franco / Chad C. Brown
$4.80 / $3.80
Dancing Groom
Trevor McCarthy / Antonio Sano
Gold Sweep
Jose Lezcano / Steven M. Asmussen
Air Cav
Dylan Davis / Brad H. Cox
El Grande O
Kendrick Carmouche / Linda Rice
Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd A. Pletcher
Sweet Soddy J
Jose Antonio Gomez / Raymond E. Ginter, Jr.

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1 Exacta (3-4) Paid: $16.70
  • $0.50 Trifecta (3-4-2) Paid: $126.75
  • $0.10 Superfecta (3-4-2-7) Paid: $119.20

Watch the 2023 Champagne Stakes

Champagne Stakes and Kentucky Derby Winners

There have been instances in which a Champagne Stakes winner has gone onto win the Kentucky Derby the following year:

  • Seattle Slew: 1976 Champagne Stakes, 1977 Triple Crown
  • Count Fleet: 1942 Champagne Stakes, 1943 Triple Crown
  • Riva Ridge: 1971 Champagne Stakes, 1972 Kentucky Derby
  • Foolish Pleasure: 1974 Champagne Stakes, 1975 Kentucky Derby
  • Spectacular Bid: 1978 Champagne Stakes, 1979 Kentucky Derby

Champagne Stakes Winners and Breeders’ Cup Winners

There have been five instances in which the Champagne Stakes winner went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the same year:

  • Fly So Free (1990)
  • Timber Country (1994)
  • War Pass (2007)
  • Uncle Mo (2010)
  • Shanghai Bobby (2012)

Champagne Stakes Records

  • The biggest margin of victory at the Champagne Stakes is 9 3/4 lengths.
  • The record for fastest time at the Champagne Stakes at its current 1-mile distance is 1:34.20. Two horses hold the Champagne Stakes speed record: Seattle Slew (1976) and Devil’s Bag (1983).
  • The record for most Champagne Stakes wins by a jockey is five, set by Braulio Baeza (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1975).
  • The record for most Champagne Stakes wins by a trainer is six, set by Todd Pletcher (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
  • The record for most Champagne Stakes wins by an owner is five, set by Calumet Farm (1933, 1936, 1944, 1949, 1977).

Champagne Stakes Race History

Of the nine Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races open to juveniles, which has been the most successful at producing winners on the first Saturday in May? The answer is the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, and it’s not even close. 

Few races in North America can claim a history as long and rich as the Champagne. Inaugurated in 1867, the Champagne produced 23 Kentucky Derby winners between 1892 and 2010, the majority after the race was lengthened to its present one-mile distance in 1940. 

Once overshadowed by the Hopeful Stakes and the Futurity, the Champagne has become the preeminent juvenile stakes race on the East Coast. As a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), the Champagne is a key battleground for young runners taking aim at the two-year-old division championship. In addition, the Champagne offers Kentucky Derby qualification points to the top five finishers on a 10-5-3-2-1 basis.

The list of Champagne winners reads like a “who’s who” of juvenile champions and high-class colts. Count Fleet claimed the title in 1942, one year before he swept the 1943 Triple Crown, while Seattle Slew repeated the double in 1976-77. Two other Triple Crown winners (Omaha, 1935, and Secretariat, 1973) lost the Champagne, though superhorse Secretariat did cross the wire first before suffering an infamous disqualification.

It’s no coincidence Count Fleet and Seattle Slew established the gold standards by which many Champagne winners have been judged. Count Fleet clocked the one-mile distance in 1:34.80, which stood as the stakes record until 1967. Seattle Slew claimed the record as his own when stopping the timer in 1:34.40, after which the brilliant juvenile champion Devil’s Bag established the still-standing mark of 1:34.20 in 1983.

The Champagne endured a quiet streak during the first two decades of the 21st century. Between 2000 and 2023, only one Kentucky Derby winner contested the Champagne, with Super Saver turning an uninspiring fourth-place finish at Belmont into victory in the 2010 Derby. During the same timeframe, only two other Champagne contestants managed to hit the board at Churchill Downs.

Super Saver was conditioned by Todd Pletcher, who saddled a half-dozen Champagne winners between 2004 and 2014, the most by any trainer in the modern era.

Champagne Stakes Past Winners

YearWinnerJockey / TrainerDistance / Time
Florent Geroux / Brad H. Cox
1 M / 1:35.90
Blazing Sevens
Flavien Prat / Chad C. Brown
1 M / 1:37.07
Jack Christopher
José Ortiz / Chad C. Brown
1 M / 1:37.31
Jackie's Warrior
Joel Rosario / Steve Asmussen
1 M / 1:35.42
Tiz the Law
Manny Franco / Barclay Tagg
1 M / 1:35.41
José L. Ortiz / Chad C. Brown
1 M / 1:34.63
Firenze Fire
Irad Ortiz Jr. / Jason Servis
1 M / 1:35.91
Practical Joke
Joel Rosario / Chad C. Brown
1 M / 1:34.68
Joe Bravo / Dominick Schettino
1 M / 1:36.25
Javier Castellano / Todd Pletcher
1 M / 1:36.62