Southern Equine Stables’ Champagne d’Oro, emphatic winner of last year’s Grade 1 Test, has returned to the Spa
in preparation for a start in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap on August 7
and possibly the Grade 1 Ballerina on Travers Day, August 27.
Now 4, Champagne d’Oro has raced
once this year, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at
Calder Race Course on July 9. Her primary goal is November’s Grade 1 Breeders’
Cup & Filly Mare Sprint, in which she was fourth last year. She made two
starts after last year’s Breeders’ Cup – a sixth in the Grade 1 La Brea and a
fourth in the Grade 2 El Encino – before she was given a breather.
“She was good enough last year, but
by the time she had won the Test and gone back to California she was a tired
horse,” said trainer Eric Guillot. “We freshened her up and gave her four
months off, and ran her at Calder in a Grade 1. She needed the race.”
In the Princess Rooney, Champagne
d’Oro stalked the pace, loomed in midstretch, and flattened out late.
“She broke the bias,” said Guillot.
“The track was drying out that day and the speed backed up. The horses that
were 1-2-3 in front of her finished seventh, ninth, and 10th. She
punched through at the eighth pole and looked like she was going to win, but
she came up a little short. That race under her belt is going to make all the
difference in the world.”
If Champagne d’Oro runs well in the
six-furlong Honorable Miss, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro could return in the
seven-furlong Ballerina three weeks later, which Guillot admits would be a
“And that’s what I’m going to
determine, depending on how she comes back, how she runs, and who’s going in
the Ballerina,” added Guillot. “It’s a Grade 1 right out of her stall on a track
she likes – you almost have to take a shot.”