Predicteform Champagne Stakes Analysis


Upstart, above winning the Funny Cide Stakes, is a strong contender in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park. (Photo by Adam Mooshian/NYRA)

The $500,000 Champagne Stakes is the oldest run graded stakes race in the country, now in its 148th year. It’s run at a distance of a flat mile (8 furlongs) for 2-year-olds.

The Champagne is one of six Breeders’ Cup “Win and You're In” Challenge Series races (where the winning horse gets his entry into the Breeders' Cup and travel expenses paid - read more about the value of winning a Breeders' Cup Challenge race). The race will air live on NBC Sports Network along with the Shadwell Turf Mile (featuring two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan) beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 4.

While the field has only six starters, each one is coming off a Form Cycle Pattern.

Get the Pace Figures and Brisnet Past Performances for the Champagne Stakes.

El Kabeir (5-2, morning-line odds)

A $250,000 purchase out of the 2013 OBS August sale of selected yearlings, El Kabeir draws the rail at this speed-favoring distance of a mile.

His first start lifetime was a 68.6/76 Negative Pattern (NEG - a dirt spread of 7-10 points first start, final figure minus the 4f figure) an indication that horses are most likely to regress, especially in their second start.

What is interesting about him is he not only won his next out, but did so impressively running a 76.2/82, a Double Top Form Cycle Pattern (DTOP – highest final and four-furlong figures by a sizeable amount in the same race, usually setting up for regression). Diving deeper into his last race, it was run at 7 furlongs, one of the few distances where you can get all four Pace Figures. He ran a 77.6/2f – 82/4f – 73.4/6f – 76.4/final which is a clear indication that he rated well on the front end, slowed the pace down between 4 and 6 furlongs and sprinted home. Notice the strong workout pattern since his last start with two recent bullets.

The Play: Contender – Morning-line second choice has tactical speed, however he’ll have to use it early from the rail. He could be just that good as his 76 final figure suggested in his last out.

Upstart (7-2)

A $130,000 purchase out of the Fasig-Tipton sale of New York-bred preferred yearlings in August 2013, Upstart is 2-for-2 lifetime, though both in New York-bred restricted races (where the competition is generally lighter than non-restricted races). Visually speaking, his most recent effort in the Funny Cide Stakes was impressive. He was last in a short field of five, well behind the odds-on favorite who essentially began to pull away from the field. Upstart made up a big gap on the turn and drove slow and steady to the finish line, pulling away and being ridden out past the wire.

His Pace Figures support that notion as he is on a positive Form Cycle line going from a Compression (COMP) to Reversal (REV). While a compression line is a strong first-out pattern, indicating a runner who ran a balanced and consistent race, the Reversal Pattern indicates a runner that ran a final figure that was faster than his 4f figure for the first time in his life. This pattern is a powerful sign of forward progress, especially for lightly raced or stretch-out runner, of which he is both.

The Play: Contender – Top pick has quick turn of foot and will like the distance, anything over 3-1 has value in this short field.

I Spent It (6-1)

A $600,000 purchase out of the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected two-year-olds in training, I Spent It already has earned $335,000, just $16k less than the other five Champagne entrants combined. He is the only one in the field to have competed in a graded stakes race, let alone two – the Hopeful and Saratoga Special Stakes. Visually speaking, his last race was just OK. He broke fine and never really challenged the winner while losing lengths in the stretch.

And while he did run a NPT last out, his 4f figure barely exceeded the race before while his final figure did tail off 5 points, from 73.2 – 68. Here are the intra-race Pace Figures from his last start: 79/2f – 83.6/4f – 70.9/6f – 68/final. While he ran quickly through a half-mile, the back half of the race declined significantly, dropping 15 points in 2.5 furlongs.

The Play: Regressor – If a two-year-old could be seen as peaking early, he did. Plus, he was very restless in the paddock and this potential for an unsettled 2-year-old is enough to completely toss.

Holy Boss (5-1)

A $130,000 purchase out of the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, Holy Boss exits a $37,000 maiden special weight race victory at Churchill Downs into a $500,000 Grade 1 Stakes. Because these horses are so young and immature in their racing career, vast improvements (or regressions) can swing wildly, which makes a move into this level of competition tough to figure.

Visually speaking, his last race was very good. He broke quickly and had two horses take mild runs at him while drawing away at the finish line. From a Pace Figures perspective he ran a compression line of 74.1/74.3 in his first start, a tough thing to do. This shows an ability to manage energy, impressive in a first start for a 2-year-old.

The Play: Fringe Contender – Added distance of two furlongs and upgrade to stakes-level competition make him worth using underneath.

The Truth or Else (10-1)

A $110,000 purchase out of the 2013 Fasig-Tipton July sale of selected yearlings, The Truth or Else is the most seasoned runner in the field with four starts. He got knocked around in maiden special weight company until his most recent move to the dirt and subsequent win. He is the only runner to have competed at one mile or longer (three times already), which is a positive.

From a Pace Figure perspective, it is clear he is a couple of points slower than other horses in the race. His grass efforts were in the mid 60s, while his most recent effort of 72.5/67.4 was his first on grass. His workout patterns have been just OK.

The Play: Too Slow – Lower Pace Figures plus loss of top jockey Joel Rosario are strong negatives. He will also be shorter odds than he should be due to field size.

Daredevil (2-1)

A $260,000 purchase out of the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, Daredevil is trained by the top man in the business with 2-year-olds, Todd Pletcher. One of two runners with only one lifetime start, his lone effort was in the mud, where he easily handled the competition. Daredevil broke strongly and led from start to finish, with jockey John Velazquez looking back no less than five times. Johnny V heads to Keeneland and Javier Castellano now hops aboard.

Daredevil is a half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Albertus Maximus, which does mean he has back class. Turning to his Pace Figures, he ran a 73.2/82.9, a Negative (NEG) Form Cycle Pattern for a first-time starter. Also notice the 2f figure of 88.6, a very high figure for 2 furlongs, especially in the mud.

The Play: Regressor – Negative Pattern, slower final figure than half the field, Pletcher and Javier combo will be overbet - just no value with risk.

$500,000 Champagne Stakes
Saturday, Belmont park, Race 8, Post Time 4:29 p.m. ET
1 mile, dirt, 2-year-olds







El Kabeir

Irad Ortiz Jr.


John Terranova



Jose Ortiz


Rick Violette


I Spent It

Jose Lezcano


Tony Dutrow


Holy Boss

Ricardo Santana Jr.


Steve Asmussen


The Truth Or Else

Cornelio Velasquez


Ken McPeek



Javier Castellano


Todd Pletcher




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