OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Reigning 2-year-old Eclipse Champion Filly Champagne Room made her first start in seven months a winning one, easily wiring the field in Sunday’s $200,000 Remington Park Oaks.
Springing sharply from the inside post under regular rider Mario Gutierrez, Champagne Room quickly established a multiple-length lead on the field through initial splits of :23.65, :47.05, and 1:11.07. Midway down the backstretch, Champagne Room seemed so excited to finally be back racing that Gutierrez was forced to stand up in the saddle and collar her speed in order to have something left for the stretch run. The field bunched up nearing the far turn, and when Gutierrez decided to spring her loose, there was no catching her. Emerging off of the far turn with Ever So Clever beginning to draw closer to her outside, Gutierrez gave a simple shake of the reins and it was all over. Champagne Room crossed the wire in hand by 3 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:42.05 for the 1 1/16-mile dirt race, a stakes record.
“I was just a little worried because of her not relaxing before the race,” Gutierrez said, referring to Champagne Room’s visible agitation in the minutes preceding loading into the gate for the start. “She was beginning to relax (when the field grew close on the backstretch) and came off the bit on her own, but as soon as they come up to her, you saw her kick it back in and she drew away from them.”
Ever So Clever clocked in at second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Babybluesbdancing. Holiday’s Angel and Torrent completed the order of finish.
The win made the 3-year-old daughter of Broken Vow the first-ever Eclipse Award-winning horse to win at Remington Park in his/her first race after winning the Award. She also became the first-ever Grade 1 winner to subsequently win a race at Remington Park. Her record now stands at 7-3-1-2 with career earnings of $1,430,600.
While no decisions have yet to be made, her connections are considering a return to the Breeders’ Cup this fall, though they haven’t decided which race to enter: the Filly & Mare Sprint or the Distaff.
“I can’t speak for everybody, but I vote for distance,” Eurton said while also admitting that the ultimate choice is up to her ownership, which is comprised of Alesia, Christensen, Ciaglia Racing, Exline-Border Racing, and Gulliver Racing.
Champagne Room returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Ever So Clever brought back $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show, while Babybluesbdancing paid $2.10 to show.