One of four stakes on Saturday’s Belmont Park program, the $500,000 Champagne (G1) serves as a final prep for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hopefuls and is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, with the top four finishers earning points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a berth in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.
A field of 12 is set for the 146 th running of the one-mile test.
#6 Good Magic has been installed as the slight 7-2 morning line favorite despite being winless from his only start. The chestnut colt was bet down to 3-5 odds in his 6 ½-furlong debut and offered a nice challenge before settling for runner-up honors on the Travers Day undercard at Saratoga. Trainer Chad Brown wins at a 26% clip with runners making their second start and the $1 million son of Curlin is bred to appreciate the added ground. With a race under his belt, he’s eligible to keep improving and Good Magic figures to launch his rally from just off the pace with new jockey Jose Ortiz.
#11 Hazit, the early 4-1 second choice, edged Good Magic leading wire-to-wire over a Saratoga track that played kindly to inside speed. The War Front colt owns a precocious pedigree, with his dam being a Grade 3-winning sprinter and a half-sister to a Grade 1-winning juvenile, and he promises to bring speed to Saturday’s race from his outside post. Todd Pletcher’s go-to rider, Hall of Famer and Kentucky Derby winner John Velazquez, has the call.
#8 Aveenu Malcainu will try to improve to 3-for-3 in his first start against open rivals. A son of successful Kentucky-based sire Into Mischief, the 2-year-old colt was bred in New York and made his first two starts against state-bred opponents at Saratoga, posting a near one-length maiden tally before rolling to a 2 ½-length decision in the August 25 Funny Cide Stakes. Luis Saez rides the stalker for Jeremiah Englehart.
#4 Enticed overcame a less-than-favorable trip with a powerful finish in his debut, winning going away by a nearly two-length margin, and the Medaglia d’Oro colt should relish the stretch out in distance. Out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Mineshaft mare It’s Tricky, Enticed rates as an enticing prospect for Godolphin Racing and Kiaran McLaughlin at 10-1 on the morning line.
#7 Bahamian has been installed as the 5-1 third choice on the morning line. The Maryland-bred son of Freedom Child ships cross-country for Simon Callaghan following a pair of starts at Del Mar, finishing a commendable second, more than eight lengths clear of third, to subsequent FrontRunner (G1) runner-up Solomini in a maiden race five weeks ago. Two-time Kentucky Derby victor Mario Gutierrez will be in for the mount.
impressed at first asking and is eligible to keep moving forward in his stakes
Good luck playing the Champagne!