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2015 Champagne Stakes Preview

The Grade 1 Champagne Stakes will be at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The race is for 2 year olds and is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The Champagne will be run at one mile on Belmont’s main track, just like the sister race of the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes a race earlier. The purse is $500,000 and there are points awarded to the top four finishers towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.

The winner will receive 10 points, second place will receive four points, third place will receive two points, and the fourth place finisher will receive one point.

Post time for the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes is scheduled for 4:18 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the eighth of 11 races on Saturday. Free past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, October 3 and Belmont Park race 8. Entries have been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Magna LightJose OrtizRudy Rodriguez6-1
2GreenpointcrusaderJoe BravoDominick Schettino5-1
3Ready DancerJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher5-1
4Sail AhoyJoel RosarioShug McGaughey12-1
5RalisJavier CastellanoDoug O'Neill3-1
6RaftingIrad Ortiz JrGraham Motion8-1
7Tale of S'avallCornelio VelasquezBarclay Tagg7-2
8Sunny RidgeJunior AlvaradoJason Servis20-1
9Portfolio ManagerManuel FrancoChad Brown12-1

1. Magna Light – His debut came here at Belmont on June 28. He battled for the lead and drew off to by 4 1/2 lengths in the five furlong dash over a sloppy track. He then raced in the Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga where he once again battle for the lead and held on for 3/4 length win. However, he was disqualified from first to third for bothering another horse in the stretch. His latest race was the Grade 1 Hopeful also at Saratoga. He got a clear lead, but was no match for the winner in Ralis. He finished second by 5 3/4 lengths and will be trying to go all the way again in this race. There is other speed in the race, but he has the rial, which will help him to save ground. He can hang around for a piece of the exotics underneath.

2. Greenpointcrusader – He debuted at Saratoga going 5.5 furlongs where he sat in the middle of the field. He came out in the stretch and made a big run to the wire, but just missed by a neck. His second race was very similar in that the stalked the pace and closed ground in the stretch. This time, he was able to win by a neck going 7 furlongs. He will probably have a similar type of trip and is a big threat in this race with the extra furlong.

3. Ready Dancer – His first start was at Belmont going five furlongs in early July. He dueled for the lead, but weakened to finish third by 4 1/4 lengths in a field of five. He then ran at Saratoga where, again, he dueled for the lead, but could not hang on in the stretch. He was second by two lengths in a field of 10 going 6 furlongs. His latest race was also at Saratoga going 6 furlongs. This time he was just off the speed by a length and had to go wide for most of the race. That did not matter as he was able to finally pull away and break his maiden by 2 1/2 lengths. He is likely to track the speed again and will like the extra two furlongs. Interesting 5-1 shot for Todd Pletcher.

4. Sail Ahoy – His first start came at Saratoga in late August going six furlongs. He was off slow and sat well of the pace. He closed to finish third in that race, but was not close to the top two as he finished 9 1/4 lengths behind Ready Dancer. His second start was here at Belmont going a mile over the main track. He was off the pace again that race, but this time his kick was more effective. He came wide into the stretch and began to eat up ground to win by a head. It was a solid win, but he will have to step up his game to have a chance to win here.

5. Ralis – He ran in a May 4.5 furlong dash at Santa Anita. He tried to come off the pace, but could only manage an even effort finishing fourth by 2 lengths. A drop in to Cal-bred MSW was him duel for the lead and win going away by 4.5 lengths about 3 weeks later. His third start was in a stakes race, but he was overmatched in that race finishing fifth by 9 lengths in a field of six. He ran a solid second in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on August 5 before traveling to the East coast for the Grade 1 Hopeful. He sat right off the pace in that race and blew by Magna Light to win by 5 3/4 lengths. A repeat of that race puts him right there in this race.

6. Rafting – He debuted at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. He sat well off the pace near the rear of the field and did not have much kick in the stretch. He finished seventh by 11 lengths and was then moved back to one turn on the dirt in his second start. Going 7 furlongs, he was much closer to the pace and sat right off the top leaders. On the turn, he started to move up and came out wide in the stretch to pull away and win by 2 1/4 lengths. It was a much better effort that will have to be replicated in this spot to have a chance of hitting the ticket.

7. Tale of S’avall – He has one start and one win. His lone race was August 29 at Saratoga where he sat off the pace by a few lengths, came out in the stretch, and then pulled away to win by 2 lengths. That race was at 6 furlongs, but the extra distance in this race should not bother him. He also adds lasix and his works have been solid in the morning. He has a big chance here with another off the pace move.

8. Sunny Ridge – His first race came in a $40K maiden claimer at Monmouth in June. He pressed the pace and was able to get up for the win by a neck going 4.5 furlongs. A move to Saratoga in his next start did not prove fruitful as he was hard to handle early in the Grade 3 Sanford. He came wide in the stretch as well, but was not close to contending for the top spots. He finished seventh by 3 3/4 lengths. His last race was back at Monmouth in the Sapling Stakes going a mile on the main track. He sat off the pace by a few lengths and then came wide in the stretch for his run. He closed stoutly and won by 2 1/4 lengths and will not try another New York stakes race. This is a tough spot for him and is considered an outsider here.

9. Portfolio Manager – The lone maiden in this race, he has run one race thus far. It was not a bad race by any means at Saratoga on August 22. He sat in the middle of the pack about two lengths off the leader and then started to make is move entering the stretch. He made up solid ground, but could not catch the winner, as he finished second by 1 3/4 lengths. It is a positive sign to see him entered here despite not winning his maiden race. He deserves a look at a nice price for the underneath slots.


There are plenty of choices for the win end in the Champagne Stakes. #2 Greenpointcrusader has improved both starts and should end up with a good spot behind the leaders. #3 Ready Dancer could press the pace or sit just off of it, which makes him a threat for the duo John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. #5 Ralis really exploded in the lane last out in an impressive performance in the Grade 1 Hopeful. He must not be forgotten about here. For fourth, #9 Portfolio Manager is worth throwing in at a nice price. He may be a maiden, but has every reason to improve. Also worth including underneath are #1 Magna Light, #6 Rafting, and #7 Tale of S’avall. This is a very deep race with some good quality to it.

Top selection – #2 Greenpointcrusader

2nd selection – #3 Ready Dancer

3rd selection – #5 Ralis

4th selection – #9 Portfolio Manager

Check back on Saturday night for a recap of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.

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