News and STORIES

Champagne Stakes Field Led by Undefeated Jackie's Warrior

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday October 09, 2020
The undefeated Jackie's Warrior will look to keep that streak alive and take another grade 1 victory when he runs in the $250,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday. 

The son of Maclean's Music is owned by J. Kirk and Judy Robinson, and he is coming into the one-mile race off three straight victories. Those wins include the Sept. 7 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, where he finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Reinvestment Risk.

Jackie's Warrior has been trying to get comfortable at Belmont, breezing a half-mile Oct. 4 in :50.54. He will be joined by jockey Joel Rosario, who was the rider aboard the horse in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and the Hopeful.

Toby Sheets is the Belmont-based assistant trained for Steve Asmussen.

"He handles everything well," said Sheets. "Just like his races are, that's how he is. He's done everything very professionally, and he's very straightforward. I don't see the mile being an issue at all."

The Champagne Stakes is one of the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifier races for the TVG Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1). It has attracted a field of six, including Reinvestment Risk.

Reinvestment Risk

Reinvestment Risk is owned by Klaravich Stables and is a son of freshman sire Upstart. His debut came on Aug. 1 at Saratoga, where he put forth an impressive performance to win by 7 3/4 lengths over next-out winner Olympiad. He stalked Jackie's Warrior throughout the Hopeful but was never able to put in a serious challenge.

Reinvestment Risk has worked twice at Belmont, both being four furlongs. He went :49 on Sept. 27 and :48.59 on Oct. 3. The colt will be joined by regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. 

Midnight Bourbon and Ambivalent

Also among the field will be Midnight Bourbon and Ambivalent, the only other runners who have placed in a black-type stakes.

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Midnight Bourbon is coming off a second-place effort in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. The son of Tiznow also finished third on debut at Ellis Park July 25 and broke his maiden the following start at Ellis by 5 1/2 lengths.

Midnight Bourbon is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen and will break under jockey Jose Ortiz. 

"He came in on Saturday, had a little (three-furlong) blowout (in :39.22) here on Tuesday," Sheets said about Midnight Bourbon. "He's another well-built, big horse. He's figuring it out a little bit, but he's been doing really well."

Midnight Bourbon is the fourth black-type performer and fourth runner coming from the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon. Other starters from the mare include grade 1 victor Girvin and grade 3 winners Pirate's Punch and Cocked and Loaded. 

Midnight Bourbon became Tiznow's second-highest-priced yearling of 2019, with the price tag hitting $525,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale from Warrendale Sales' consignment for Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.

"Let's hope that trend continues," Sheets said.

Another top runner coming into the race is Reddam Racing's Ambivalent, a son of Constitution. He has the most experience among any of the runners with four starts. However, he is still looking for his first win.

Ambivalent has two runner-up finishes, a third, and a fourth. He finished third last time out in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes. He also took third in the Best Pal Stakes (G2) before being disqualified to fourth. 

The remaining two runners set to be part of the six-horse field are Run Casper Run and Civil War, both being longshots with morning lines at 30/1.