How to bet the 2022 Champagne Stakes

September 29th, 2022

A field of six juveniles will travel one mile on the Aqueduct main surface in Saturday’s $500,000 Champagne S. (G1). The race is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) on November 4 and a 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event and has thus attracted some fine prospects that could make their presence felt in the next few months.

The brilliant #6 Gulfport (2-1) has been upended in two straight following a pair of fantastic scores to kick start his career, but I expect the Steve Asmussen trainee to put his best foot forward and to get back to his winning ways. A seven-length debut winner at Churchill Downs in June, the son of Uncle Mo came right back to decimate his foes in the Bashford Manor S. by 12 lengths, prior to registering second-place finishes in both the Saratoga Special S. (G2), and most recently, the Hopeful S. (G1), both at The Spa.

Gulfport received an ideal draw outside of his five foes for Saturday, and I have always thought that the $275,000 purchase would have the ability to carry his speed one-mile at least. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount atop the bay and will be forcing the pace from the opening bell atop the prime selection.

#3 Verifying (9-5) was one of the more impressive maiden winners at the Saratoga meeting for conditioner Brad Cox and could be any kind going forward. The $775,000 yearling purchase led throughout when coming home fast at first asking, and he is bred to run long which makes him a youngster to watch as he develops.

The son of Justify is a half-brother to the sensational Midnight Bisou and the bay gave the impression that he might be something like his big sister in his initial outing. Joel Rosario will be in the silks atop the May foal and keeping him in the mix from the opening bell during his stakes bow.

#4 Champions Dream (5-1) did nothing wrong in his first offering when going postward at 6-5 odds at Saratoga for Danny Gargan, eventually striding home a 2 1/4-length winner. Also by Justify, the $425,000 spring purchase has fired two rapid bullet morning drills following his first outing, and he will be a contender with improvement off his solid maiden score. Manny Franco will be in the silks.

Champagne Wagers

  • $40 exacta: 6 with 3 ($40)
  • $10 trifecta: 6 with 3 with 4 ($10)