Meet the Contenders: 2023 Champagne Stakes
Meet the horses running in the 2023 Champagne Stakes. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well.
#1 Air Cav *
Pro: Cox barn has started meet well and this son of Mitole should get better.
Con: Narrowly escaped in slowly-run maiden at Indianapolis.
#2 Dancing Groom ***
Pro: Won for fun going a mile at Saratoga; bred to get even better going longer.
Con: Possessed stronger dirt pedigree in that race, which was transferred from turf.
#3 Timberlake ***
Pro: Won key maiden at Ellis, followed up with a second in the Hopeful (G1).
Con: Not a great Hopeful from a figure perspective; cross-entered in Keeneland (G1).
#4 General Partner ****
Pro: Rebounded off debut loss to graduate by four late in Saratoga meet.
Con: So far prone to bumping episodes leaving the gate.
#5 El Grande O ***
Pro: Most experienced member of the field has won or placed in all six starts.
Con: All but one of his races has been against New York-breds.
#6 Fierceness *****
Pro: Crushed rivals by 11 in debut; very promising colt.
Con: Thrived in the mud; can he do it on a fast track, too.
#7 Gold Sweep **
Pro: Tremont winner endured rough trip in Hopeful; capable of better.
Con: Quality of graded stakes during Saratoga meet open to debate.
#8 Sweet Soddy J *
Pro: Undefeated on dirt; only loss to date on Tapeta.
Con: Beat far lesser at Colonial Downs, Timonium.