Champagne Stakes (Belmont Park) Predictions, Odds & Picks

Champagne Stakes 2020

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Reinvestment Risk (5/2)

Post Position and Odds – Champagne Stakes

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park!

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer
1AMBIVALENT6/1
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J R VelazquezD O’Neill
2RUN CASPER RUN20/1
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J LezcanoJ C Vasquez
3CIVIL WAR20/1
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K CarmoucheT Albertrani
4JACKIE’S WARRIOR1/1
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J RosarioS Amussen
5REINVESTMENT RISK5/2
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I Ortiz JrC Brown
6MIDNIGHT BOURBON4/1
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J OrtizS Amussen

Best Bets for the Champagne Stakes

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$20 Exacta part wheel – Reinvestment Risk over Jackie’s Warrior and Midnight Bourbon = $40

Top Pick:

Reinvestment Risk (5/2).

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Stars of the future will take to the track Saturday at Belmont Park as a field of six young colts vie for the top prize in the prestigious Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.

Off a pair of impressive and fast front running graded stakes victories at Saratoga, the undefeated Jackie’s Warrior is the current leader of the 2-year-old division. One of two in here for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, the son of Maclean’s Music will look to flaunt his speed once again in the one mile Champagne as he figures to be a big favorite in the important and historic race for juveniles.

Chief among his rivals in the $250,000 test will be a colt who he has beaten before. Reinvestment Risk, from the barn of Chad Brown, was a good second in the Hopeful (G1) while making only his second career start. Before that, he had easily dispatched of his competition in a Saratoga maiden race

The third choice in the field of half a dozen figures to be the other Asmussen runner, Midnight Bourbon. Like his stablemate, he also has three races under his belt but has only won once. An impressive second-out winner at Ellis Park, he ran a solid second last time in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.

As a “Win and You’re In” challenge event, Saturday’s Champagne will offer the winner an all fees paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland on November 6.

How to Watch the Champagne Stakes

Champagne Stakes Information
WhatChampagne Stakes (G1)
WhereBelmont Park
WhenSaturday, October 10 — 1:58pm Eastern time
How to WatchFox Sports 1
Purse$250,000

Race Analysis

Jackie’s Warrior

He certainly comes into the Champagne as the one to beat following three consecutive impressive wins to start his career, including a pair of graded stakes at Saratoga. He also has the speed to control this one-turn, one-mile race from the outset. Each of his three main rivals has the tactical speed to stay in touch early, so he will likely be tested at some point at the race. On Saturday, he will need to prove that he can carry his speed a little farther than he has before. If he can successfully do that, the Steve Asmussen trained son of Maclean’s Music will head to Kentucky as the favorite for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. The one they all have to beat, but the odds figure to be very low.

Reinvestment Risk

A big winner of his career debut at Saratoga, the son of Upstart looked like the genuine article winning by nearly eight lengths while geared down late. So impressive was the debut that he was made the favorite in the Grade 1 Hopeful despite Jackie’s Warrior having already easily won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He could not match that one’s early speed in the Hopeful and never could get too close in the 7-furlong race, although he did keep trying to run a good second. With that experience under his belt and another furlong to run on Saturday, he should have a better chance this time around. I’m not sure if he will have to do all the dirty work of pressuring the favorite early, but he might just be talented enough to get the job done regardless.

Midnight Bourbon

Steve Asmussen’s other entrant in the Grade 1 Champagne has shown steady improvement in three starts so far in Kentucky. He was a smart winner of his second race at Ellis Park, before graduating to stakes company in his latest. He made a nice wide move in the Grade 3 Iroquois to seize command before yielding the win to Sittin on Go. Further improvement gives him a fighting chance against the highly regarded top two, and he does have the benefit of plenty of experience at the one-mile trip.

Ambivalent

Trainer Doug O’Neill ships in this high priced son of Constitution from California where he was winless in four career starts. The winless part is the bad news, though, as he was competitive in all four, two of which were stakes races. He has the tactical speed to stay in touch early and has twice already run the one-mile distance. He may have found his toughest test to date on Saturday, but on the other hand, if he takes to the Belmont main track, he is one you cannot throw out either.

Run Casper Run

Purchased for a meager $12,500 at a March 2-year-old in training sale earlier this year, this son of Ghostzapper comes to this prestigious grade 1 in New York off a pair of efforts in maiden company at Colonial Downs in Virginia. With a third on the turf and then a win on dirt, he did show some ability in both. Things on Saturday, however, will get a whole lot more difficult. He is hard to recommend off the extreme bump up in class.

Civil War

A $7,000 yearling purchase, not too much was expected of the son of Bodemeister when he was sent off at 8-1 against maiden claimers at Monmouth Park. A strong finish, though, got him up in time to win by a nose and prompted his connections to get very ambitious in his second career start. Too ambitious in my estimation. The difference between the Champagne competition and what he saw last time makes him near impossible to like in this spot.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: brian.zipse@wsn.com