Expert Pick of the Week: Champagne Stakes

Oct 08, 2020 John Mucciolo/

A compact field of six juveniles will contest Saturday’s $250,000 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park. The one-turn mile event is a “Win and You’re In” contest, with the first-place finisher receiving an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 6. In addition, the top four finishers will also earn points on a 10-4-2-1 basis on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The top two finishers of the recent Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga, Jackie’s Warrior and Reinvestment Risk, will lead the way in what could boil down to a two-horse race. And I will look for a mild upset with the latter who is the Expert Pick of the Week.

Trained by Chad Brown, Reinvestment Risk was among the flashiest maiden winners of the Saratoga meeting when driving home by a stylish 7 3/4 lengths on Aug. 1. The son of young sire Upstart jumped right into Grade 1 waters in the Hopeful and finished an excellent second, finishing 10 lengths clear of the third-place finisher who returned to win a graded stakes race in his subsequent venture.

Reinvestment Risk stretches out to one mile on Saturday and figures to appreciate the added ground with which to work. The $280,000 juvenile purchase has also posted a trio of solid morning drills in preparation for the Champagne, with the last pair coming over the 'Big Sandy' surface. Regular pilot Irad Ortiz will guide the Kentucky-bred who will likely track the favorite every step of the way.

Jackie’s Warrior has been sublime from a trio of career assignments for Asmussen. The son of Maclean’s Music followed up his Saratoga Special (G2) romp with a facile tally in the Hopeful, and he gives every indication of a colt who will handle the one-turn mile in his Belmont bow.

The $95,000 yearling purchase continues to train in fine fashion, and he is the one to catch and beat in the Champagne. Joel Rosario will guide the fleet bay.

Expert Pick for the Champagne

An exacta with #5 Reinvestment Risk on top of #4 Jackie’s Warrior is the Best Bet of the Week.

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