A field of seven line up Saturday at Belmont Park in the $500,000 Champagne (G1) led by the 8-5 morning line favorite Green Light Go, who looks to remain undefeated.
The Jimmy Jerkens trainee won the Saratoga Special (G2) in his stakes debut after a smart looking maiden win. Junior Alvarado has the return call and will break from the three post in the one-mile test.
The winner earns an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
Trainer Todd Pletcher seeks his seventh win in the Champagne when he saddles Alpha Sixty Six, who broke his maiden in his debut at Belmont Park going 6 1/2 furlongs. The colt breaks from the rail with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez aboard.
The colt is a son of Liam’s Map out of a stakes placed Giant’s Causeway mare.
“Hopefully from a talent standpoint they turn out to be similar,” Pletcher said. “He’s a good-looking colt, whereas Liam’s Map was a big, beautiful horse and looked like an Unbridled’s Song. This horse is just a different type, but he’s a good-looking colt. He trained well for his debut and put in a couple of good works since then. I think he’ll appreciate the added distance and now it’s just a question of if he’ll have enough seasoning to step up into a Grade 1 second time out.”
There are three other graded stakes on the 11-race card at Belmont Park.
Seven go in the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) led by Sword Dancer (G1) runner up Sadler’s Joy. The field includes Channel Maker. Arklow and Channel Cat.
The $400,000 Hill Prince (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on turf for three-year-old drew a field of nine. Saratoga Derby winner A Thread of Blue is the 7-2 morning line favorite.
The $150,000 Matron (G3) for juvenile fillies drew a field of six. Aims (1-1) was a very impressive maiden winner and Karak (7-5) won the Tyro at Monmouth Park in her last start.
The stakes action starts with the ungraded Belmont Turf Sprint at six furlongs. Seven go to the post including Disco Partner (5-2) and Shekky Shebaz (7-5).
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Champagne (G1) Post time 5:22 ET
3 Green Light Go 8-5
1 Alpha Sixty Six 5-1
7 Tiz the Law 5-2
4 Three Technique 7-2
Green Light Go
The Jimmy Jerkens trainee is perfect in two starts and the likely favorite in here. The colt dueled for the early lead and drew clear late to break his maiden over the main track here by 3 ¼ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs. He came back to win the Saratoga Special (G2) last out at 6 ½ furlongs coming from off the pace. The runner up Scabbard came back to run second in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in his next outing and the fourth-place finisher Peruvian Boy came back to run third in the Arlington Washington Futurity. He should have no problem stretching out to a mile. He is by Hard Spun out of the stakes winner Light Green ($167,690) who was a dirt sprinter. The Jerkens barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
Alpha Sixty Six
This colt is trained by Todd Pletcher who has won this race six times, the most recent with Daredevil in 2014. The colt was sent off at even money when making his debut here on Sept. 7 in a seven-horse field. The son of Liam’s Map stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to get up late and win by a neck over Hemlock with another eight lengths back to the third-place finisher. He is bred to handle more ground and has worked sharply since his debut win. The Pletcher barn is 24% winners moving runners from sprint to route. Among the top three in here this guy may end up offering the best value for the top spot if he goes off near his 5-1 morning line.
Tiz the Law
The son of Constitution earned the top last out speed fig in his maiden win at Saratoga going 6 1/2 furlongs. Sent off at 7-2 for the Barclay Tagg barn. The colt tracked the early pace and took command heading for home, winning with plenty left in the tank, the margin 4 ¼ lengths and it could have been bigger. He missed some time after his maiden score with sore shins but has posted four recent works for a barn that works them fast in the mornings. The colt is out of the stakes winner Tizfiz ($410,944) who was best going long on turf.
WIN: Green Light Go to win at 8-5 or better.
EXACTA: 1,3 / 1,3,4,7
TRIFECTA: 1,3 / 1,3,4,7 / 1,3,4,6,7