ELMONT, NY – The Steve Asmussen-trained Jackie’s Warrior takes his next step towards the World Championships in Saturday’s $250,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
The winner of the Champagne will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup TVG Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Champagne is a one-turn dirt mile event restricted to 2-year-old horses. The 2020 edition attracted 6 runners.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 Ambivalent – This Doug O’Neill trainee is still a maiden; however, he has never finished out of the money in 4 lifetime starts. He also has stakes experience, finishing third in the Best Pal Stakes (G2) and second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf last time out. O’Neill has enjoyed plenty of success in the past when shipping horses from California to New York.
#2 Run Casper Run – He jumps up in class for his next test after a sharp 5-furlong maiden special weight score at Colonial Downs. This Ghostzapper colt should enjoy stretching out in distance to a mile here, and his front-end speed should suit this race’s setup well. Trainer Juan Vazquez has a 21% success rate with last-out winners.
#3 Civil War – Another colt moving way up in class for this event, his lone career start came at Monmouth Park, where he flew home late to beat maiden claiming company by a nose. He didn’t earn a fast speed figure in that race, but with a better break under a much more aggressive jockey in Kendrick Carmouche, he should improve.
#4 Jackie’s Warrior – The number one-ranked 3-year-old in the country headlines this exciting race. After breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs, he shipped north and won the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) by 3 lengths. He followed that by wiring the Hopeful Stakes (G1) by 2 1/4 lengths last time out. With another win here, he’ll head to the Breeders’ Cup as the favorite.
#5 Reinvestment Risk – This Chad Brown trainee gained a solid amount of hype after a dominating debut victory at Saratoga that saw him win by 7 3/4 lengths. He followed that with a runner-up effort in the Hopeful, where he ran admirably behind Jackie’s Warrior. Perhaps the added furlong here will help him turn the tables on the rival to his inside.
#6 Midnight Bourbon – The “other” Asmussen trainee finished second last time out in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, where he stalked the pace and took the lead at the top of the stretch before getting run down late by the winner. He’s the only entry with a victory at this distance, which came 2 starts back in an Ellis Park maiden special weight event.
The Champagne serves as race 4 on the card and is one of 5 stakes on the Saturday card at Belmont Park, 4 of which are Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events. Belmont Park also hosts the final American-based qualifier for the World Championships on Sunday, the Futurity Stakes (G3) for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.