Champagne d’Oro, a 39-1 shot, grabbed the lead coming out of
the gate and hung on through the final yards for a narrow victory over favored
Amen Hallelujah in the 80th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Betfair
TVG Acorn for 3-year-old fillies Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park.
In his first ride over Belmont Park’s 1½ mile oval,
California-based jockey Martin Garcia sent the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro
straight to the front from post position 11, where she set fractions of 23.61
and 46.86 while being tracked by Buckleupbuttercup. Still in command on the
turn, Champagne d’Oro hit the stretch with a
clear lead and managed to hold off the challenges from Amen Hallelujah and
Tanda, who was forced to go wide, for the half-length win.
Champagne d’Oro, who covered the mile in 1:37.44, returned
$81.00 for a $2 win bet.
“Today, I let her break on her own,” said Garcia, the young
jockey who won the Preakness aboard Lookin At Lucky. “I let her have the lead
and just kept her together, and comfortable.”
The Betfair TVG Acorn was the first stakes victory and
second win overall for Champagne d’Oro, who is
trained by Eric Guillot for Southern Equine Stables. Winless in six starts as a
2-year-old, she broke her maiden at the Fair Grounds in February, finished
second to Quiet Temper in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and was then 11th
of 14 after a troubled trip in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in her last start.
“Today, everything was right,” said Richard Baltas,
Guillot’s assistant. “I told Martin, ‘if she breaks well, let her place
herself.’ She got an easy pace and had something left.”
Amen Hallelujah, who had a pair of Grade 2 wins this year,
was a length in front of Tanda. Completing the order of finish were Quiet
Temper, Buckleupbuttercup, Seeking the Title, Tidal Pool, Crisp, Indian Burn,
Much Rejoicing, Dances With Ashley, and Streaker. Hot Trip was scratched.
The Betfair TVG Acorn, one of five graded stakes races on
the undercard for the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million
Belmont Stakes, is also the first leg of the Betfair TVG Triple Tiara, which
continues with the Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race
Course on July 24 and concludes with the Betfair TVG Alabama, also at Saratoga,
on August 21.
If a filly is able to win all three prestigious Grade 1
races, Betfair TVG will present her owners with a $50,000 bonus to go to the
charity of their choice.