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Right on!!! Ride On Curlin, in the Champagne

10/5/2013 5:11 AM
Amount Bet:
Amount Cashed:



The Champagne Stakes(Grade I; $500,000) will be a hotly-contested one mile one-turn race for 2-year-olds.  This race will also award points for next year’s Kentucky Derby, though minimal.  The field for this event looks real solid, and most, if not all, are lightly-raced.  The disparity of odds(5-2 to 20-1) does not indicate the closeness in ability.  Let’s take a look at this decent field:

1         CASIGUAPO(20-1, Jy. Luis Saez; Tr. Mario Morales.  Sire:  Sightseeing.  Broodmare Sire:  Buddha.  Career 3-1-1-1, $82,250).  Broke his maiden in his 2nd race at Calder Race Course, and then shipped up to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, that was contested in the mud.  He ran a distant 2nd to the favorite of today’s race.  Maybe the mud track took away from his best effort?  He indicates a readiness for this race, turning in a bullet work.  Saez retains the mount.

2         RIDE ON CURLIN(12-1, Jy. Alex Solis; Tr. William Gowan.  Sire:  Street Sense.  Broodmare Sire:  Storm Cat.  Career:  3-1-1-0, $34,929).  Also broke his maiden in his 2nd race, at Ellis Park, in impressive fashion.  His last race was the Iroquois Stakes(Grade III) at Churchill, in which he was a close-up 4th(2 ½ lengths) as the favorite.  He and Intensive Holiday are the only two horses in this race that have went a mile, or further.  Picks up the services of Solis since regular rider, Calvin Borel, has opted to ride in the Indiana Derby aboard Ruler of Love.

3         HAVANA(7-2, Jy. Irad Ortiz; Tr. Todd Pletcher.  Sire:  Dunkirk.  Broodmare Sire:  Kyle’s Our Man.  Career:  1-1-0-0, $48,000).  Ran an impressive debut, under John Velazquez.  Though the horse is one of the favorites, JV has opted to ride for Pletcher at Keeneland in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity aboard We Miss Artie.  Wonder if Havana is regarded as a 2nd stringer?  Still looks as a good contender, and Ortiz is up-and-coming.

4         DEBT CEILING(10-1, Jy.  Junior Alvarado; Tr. John Robb.  Sire:  Discreet Cat.  Broodmare Sire:  Marquetry.  Career:  5-4-0-0, $183,547).  Interesting colt tries his 6th different track in as many tries.  Has conquered at all tracks with the exception of his one out at Saratoga in the Sanford Stakes(Grade II).  Has not gone beyond 6 furlongs in any race, but is prepping well up to this race, based on four bullet works out of the last 5 works.

5         HONOR CODE(3-1, Jy.  Javier Castellano; Tr. Shug McGaughey.  Sire:  A.P. Indy.  Broodmare Sire:  Storm Cat.  Career:  1-1-0-0, $48,000).  Impressive debut saw this regally-bred colt come from 22 lengths back to win by four in a seven furlong race in the slop.  John Velazquez had rode this one in his debut, but he’s riding elsewhere.  Castellano is not a bad second option.

6         LONG ON VALUE(12-1, Jy. Jose Lezcano; Tr. William Mott.  Sire:  Value Plus.  Broodmare Sire:  Orientate.  Career:  4-3-0-0, $82,800).  Began his career with three consecutive wins.  His last race was his first attempt beyond 5 ½ furlongs, going 7 furlongs in the mud, and finishing a nondescript sixth.  Acquires a new jockey.  Just might be long on value.

7         STRONG MANDATE(5-2, Jy. Jose Ortiz; Tr. D Wayne Lukas.  Sire:  Tiznow.  Broodmare Sire:  Deputy Minister.  Career:  3-2-0-0, $230,400).  Acquired the label of favorite in this race after romping to victory by 9 ¾ lengths in the Hopeful Stakes(Grade I) at seven furlongs in the mud.  He’s riding a two race win streak after losing his first race.  Retains the services of Jose Ortiz.

8         GRAND ARRIVAL(8-1, Jy. Rosie Napravnik; Tr. Nick Zito.  Sire:  Harlan’s Holiday.  Broodmare Sire:  Grindstone.  Career:  2-1-0-1, $56,000).  Last race was his maiden victory in the slop going 7 furlons.  Keeps Napravnik in the irons.  Zito has been absent from the Triple Crown trail.  Maybe this one will mark his return?

9         INTENSE HOLIDAY(12-1, Jy. Christopher DeCarlo; Tr. Todd Pletcher.  Sire:  Harlan’s Holiday.  Broodmare Sire:  Unbridled’s Song.  Career:  2-1-0-0, $24,400).  This colt is cross-entered in the Dixiana at Keeneland, where he’s drawn the inside post position.  Pletcher has assigned regular rider DeCarlo the mount.   Won his last race, which was his maiden, going a mile.  I tend to believe that he might opt for the other race, and scratch out of this one, based on better post position draw.



This seems to be a very competitive field, with the horses being lightly-raced.  Strong Mandate might be the favorite, but I will surmise that the last race was his race, because he has an affinity for the off-going.  Based on the Track Equalization Chart, I will side with (2)Ride On Curlin, who was beaten in his last race at Churchill Downs by a mere 2 ¼ lengths going 1 1/16 in the Iroquois Stakes as the favorite.  The fact that he went over a mile, and the numbers he produced in the previous race, indicate that if he can run back to the Ellis Park race, this could be his race, at the hefty odds of 12-1.  Other horses that are coming into this race with good numbers are one-time runners,(3) Havana and (5)Honor Code.  So, the play will be $5 exacta box 2-3-5; $10WPS on #2, and a $10 Daily Double beginning with the previous race(Frizette Stakes) 1(Sweet Reason) with 2-3-5. 

As Harvey Pack always used to say, may the horse be with you.


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