On October 8, Belmont Park will present a
pair of one-mile, Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds, the Champagne and
Frizette, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will have strong representation
in both races.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
In the Champagne, McLaughlin will run Alpha, while in the Frizette for fillies, the trainer will send out Miss Netta. Both juveniles have raced once, winning their debuts at Saratoga
"Alpha is scheduled to work tomorrow,
weather permitting, and he is doing very well and will run in the
Champagne with [jockey] Alan Garcia," said McLaughlin. "Miss Netta is
doing well and she'll work maybe Monday. She just broke her maiden. Both
of them did. Stepping up to a Grade 1 is not easy, but we want to see
where we stand. Alpha, we figure he belongs for sure, and we think she
Alpha, who will carry the Godolphin Stable
colors in the Champagne, debuted in a seven-furlong race on September 3,
settling 5 ½ lengths behind the pacesetter and swooping to the lead in
the stretch to draw off to a six-length victory.
is eager to stretch out Alpha, who is by 2006 Champion 3-Year-Old
Bernardini and hails from a family of European turf horses, to the
"Going from seven-eighths to a mile, he wants the distance," the trainer said.
Netta brings similar credentials into her race, having set the pace to
break her maiden by 2 ¾ lengths under a hand ride. Her debut came on
August 27, the same day as her owner, Cheyenne Stables, won the Grade 1
Foxwoods King's Bishop as part-owner of Caleb's Posse.
won going six [furlongs], but the way she did it was very impressive,"
said McLaughlin. "She broke, opened up four lengths, and then she sat,
they came to her, and then she opened up again [2 ¾] lengths. She's by
Street Sense, who should get further, and she did everything right that
day. We'll see where we stand."
Notably, Alpha and Miss
Netta are the only 2-year-olds McLaughlin has sent out to debut
victories in 2011 from 13 starters. In the past seven calendar years,
McLaughlin, who admits he doesn't push his horses to run big races first
time out, has 34 victories from 215 juvenile first-time starters (15.8
"They take us there," said McLaughlin of his
training philosophy. "That's what's nice, because we're not sellers.
We're not trying to win impressively first-time out to sell them. We
don't usually sell any, and we don't put them behind dirt and work them,
work them, and work them. We would rather have them race and learn from
the race and get experience in the race. Usually, they improve a lot
second time, but neither [Alpha or Miss Netta] can probably improve a
lot [in their next race]; they ran great and were more ready than we