Meet the Contenders: 2023 Champagne Stakes

October 5th, 2023

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.

Air Cav (Photo by Coady Photography)

#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.


Dancing Groom (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#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.

Timberlake (Photo by Coady Photography)

#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).

General Partner (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#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.

El Grande O (Photo by Coglianese Photography/Credited to Chelsea Durand)

#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.

Fierceness at Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos/Credit to Susie Raisher)

#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.

Gold Sweep (Photo by Coglianese Photography/Credit to Chelsea Durand)

#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.

Sweet Soddy (Photo by Coady Photography)

#8 Sweet Soddy J               *

Pro: Undefeated on dirt; only loss to date on Tapeta.

Con: Beat far lesser at Colonial Downs, Timonium.