Horse Racing: Preview of the 2012 Champagne and Frizette Stakes’

With the 2012 Breeders Cup now just four weeks away, this weekend’s Horse Racing action will be the last with any major preps or big name horses running before the big day(s). With that, I have a pair of two year old races at Belmont Park in New York that we must watch closely. First off, we will be looking at the Grade: 1 2012 Frizette, which will feature two year old filly sensation Dreaming of Julia and one race later top two year old male Shanghai Bobby will probably go off as one of the post time favorites in the prestigious 2012 Champagne Stakes.

The Frizette, which is the seventh race on the Belmont card on Saturday, is run at a flat mile for $400,000. Looking back over the years the lists of winners certainly is impressive.

First run in 1945, the first name that stood out at me was Cicada. She won the 1961 running along with three year end championships, was elected the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1967 and has a stakes named after her (run at Aqueduct). In 1968, the great Shuvee won the Frizette along with the Filly Triple Crown and (in 1970) Shuvee became the only filly to ever defeat colts in the (then) two mile Jockey Club Gold Cup.

In 1977, Lakeville Miss won this race as a part of winning five of her eight career starts (including three Grade: 1’s) while on her way to being voted champion two year old filly that same year.

Other stand out winners include Smart Angle (1979) Heavenly Cause (1980), the amazing Princess Rooney (1981), Miss Oceana (1983), one of the greatest females ever, Personal Ensign (1986), Meadow Star (1990), the stretch running Heavenly Prize (1993), Flanders, who had what looked like was going to a spectacular career before being cut short by injury (1994).

More recently, Society Selection (2003), Indian Blessing (2007), the ill fated Devil May Care (2009) and the still undefeated My Miss Aurelia in 2011

So, as you can see, The Frizette takes a back seat to few with its history of winners.

The Champagne, which is also run at a flat mile for colt and geldings and also for $400,000, was really the “Breeders Cup” for two year males before the Breeders Cup. It did, and still does, go a long way in deciding champion two year old male.

First run in 1867 the list of past winners is also one for the ages as. Grey Lag (1920), Triple Crown winner Count Fleet (1942), devastating stretch runner Buckpasser (1965), Riva Ridge (1972), Foolish Pleasure (1974), the great Seattle Slew (1976), Alydar (1977), Spectacular Bid, who remains the greatest racehorse this correspondent has ever seen run live, (1978), Lord Avie (1980), the ill-fated Timely Writer (1981), $36 million syndicate Devils’ Bag (1983), the powerful Easy Goer (1988), and Dehere, who had visually impressive acceleration (1993).

More recently, eventual Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone (2003), the speedy Uncle Mo (2010) and another Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags (2011)

Belmont ParkOctober 6, 2012

Race 7 – 4:02 PM  

Frizette Stakes (Grade I)

Purse $400,000.

For Fillies Two Years Old.

One Mile











1 1 Toasting 2/F L E Castro 120 T Albertrani


2 2 My Happy Face 2/F L R A Dominguez 120 R R Rodriguez


3 3 Roveing Patrol 2/F L L Dettori 120 B D Cecil


4 4 Carameaway 2/F L I Ortiz, Jr. 120 M E Friedman


5 5 Sweet Shirley Mae 2/F L J Rosario 120 W A Ward


6 6 Nancy O 2/F L D Moran 120 C M Costigan


7 7 Dreaming of Julia 2/F L J R Velazquez 120 T A Pletcher



Analysis: (By Post Position Order; Selection Below)


PP#1- Toasting- broke her maiden in her last and seems to be improving as the distances get longer (which is always a good thing). But going from a maiden race to a Grade :1 is quite a jump, one in which I’m not sure she is ready for


PP#2- My Happy Face– ran one of the biggest races of the 2012 Saratoga meet when he set blistering fractions on her way to simply annihilated a field of maidens by over 21 lengths on August 21. She shows a pair of five furlong works since then (which to me means she has kept her fitness level and is ready for more)

That being said she goes from a maiden race to a Grade: 1 race and 1 ½ furlongs longer in just her third career starts.

“We’re excited to see her run, and hopefully she runs the way we’re expecting,” said Rudy Rodriguez, who trains My Happy Face.

“This race is tough; Todd Pletcher has a beast in there (Dreaming of Julia),” Rodriguez said. “This is the nicest spot we could pick for her, and hopefully it’s the right one. She’s a very big, scopey filly and I think she can go the distance, but we won’t know until we try it. This is a good time to try her. Hopefully she shows the speed she showed last time, and hopefully she’ll be able to rate a little bit, and hopefully she’ll be able to go the distance. At this time of the year, anything is possible. The horses are still immature and the competition is deep, but I think we have a very good chance.”….I don’t’t know about a very good chance Mr. Rodriguez, but she certainly has a chance especially if she runs back to that last race.


PP#3- Roveing Patrol– ships in from Emerald Downs with a two for two record including her last race where she blew out her opponents in a restricted stakes race. (She won by almost 9 lengths in a quick time of 1:09.2 for six furlongs.)

That huge six furlong work of August 26 (1:11.3 HG) is certainly something that grabs my attention too….

She is another who will have to negotiate more distance (a quarter of a mile more) and a very big step up in class. Plus she needs to shows better speed figures than she has in her first two races because 36 and 63 won’t cut vs. these.


PP#4- Carameaway– nice win in her last as she manhandhled a NY Maiden Statebred field. That being said, her speed figures are far too low and State Bred Maidens are worlds away from Grade: 1 horses.


PP#5- Sweet Shirley May– came from 15 lengths out of the Grade: 1 Spinaway at Saratoga to finish less than three lengths behind the ultra talented So Many Ways (who, by the way, is on the shelf for the rest of the year) in her last. I expect her to hit the board on some capacity.


PP#6- Nancy O– shows very respectable late running capability in her last two. (But please be advised both of those races were a) on the turf and b) at Woodbine in Canada).

She definitely seems to have improved with Lasix added especially in that last race, and if she can transform her turf form in to dirt form, we could be hearing from her in the stretch drive.


PP#7- Dream of Julia– impeccably bred (A.P. Indy out of Grade: 1 winner Dream Rush) and has been nothing short of smashing in her first two races. She broke her maiden by 10 ½ lengths, then came back and ran a tour de force in the Meadow Star Stakes where she won laughing by over 16 lengths.

“The obvious reason (we targeted the Frizette with Dreaming of Julia) is that she’s a daughter of A.P. Indy, and the way she trains and the way she ran in her debut suggests that added distance won’t be a problem,” said trainer Todd Pletcher.

At this point, readers, she could be any kind of racehorse.


1) Dreaming of Julia

2) My Happy Face

3) Sweet Shirley May

4) Roveing Patrol



Belmont ParkOctober 6, 2012

Race 8 – 4:34 PM    

Champagne Stakes (Grade I)

Purse $400,000.

For Two Year Olds

One Mile











1 1 Goldencents 2/C L K Krigger 122 D F O’Neill


2 2 Shanghai Bobby 2/C L R Napravnik 122 T A Pletcher


3 3 Chief Havoc 2/C   C H Velasquez 122 J Noseda


4 4 Archwarrior 2/C L J R Velazquez 122 T A Pletcher


5 5 Fortify 2/C   R A Dominguez 122 K P McLaughlin


6 6 Bern Identity 2/C L E S Prado 122 K J Breen


7 7 Micromanage 2/C L J Rosario 122 T A Pletcher



Analysis: (By Post Position Order; Selection Below)

PP#1- Goldencents– was extremely impressive in breaking his maiden at Hollywood Park for trainer Doug O’Neil (from I’ll Have Another fame).

This colt by Into Mischief walloped the field that day. He was mush the best while leading all the way (thru five furlongs in :57 flat and then ran the last sixteenth in :05.3) to win by seven and record a 93 speed figure.

Dangerous…. despite the fact he faces Grade: 1 competition in just his second start and the fact that he flew 3,000 miles to do it.


PP#2- Shanghai Bobby– arguably the best two year old colt in the land right now with his 3 for 3 record and was very professional in winning the Grade: 2 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga (in his last race) by almost four lengths.

You have to like the versatility he’s shows so far especially for a young horse (he won the Hopeful while coming from behind and his previous race, The Track Barron Stakes, he won wire to wire).

“We were encouraged with the way he rated (off the pace) in the Hopeful,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who seems to completely own the two year male and female divison this year with Dreaming of Julia, Futurity winner Overanalyze and the Matron winner  Kauai Katie.

“Even though he was close to the pace, he was able to let horses go in front of him and seemed to settle pretty well. The fact he successfully got seven furlongs and wasn’t desperate doing it was a good indication that a one-turn mile should be well within his scope.”


PP#3- Chief Havoc– is a bit of a dark horse as he comes into this race still a maiden but shows two close up finishes vs. stakes horse in Great Britain. I have to pass on him until he can prove he can be competitive against these types of horses.


PP#4- Archwarrior– created quite a buzz on the back stretch atSaratoga this past summer and didn’t disappoint as he cruised to a “hand ridden” almost four length win in his debut in late August.

This colt by Arch, like Dreaming of Julia, could be any kind.

“He’s a big, strong colt who has shown us a lot of ability in the mornings, and I thought he backed it up with a good, solid effort in his debut,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “I liked the way he finished the race and the way he galloped out, and he’s trained well since then. It’s an ambitious move, but it’s a move we think that fits his schedule based off what we’ve seen.”

Be sure to check out those morning line odds set my oddsmaker Eric Donovan…..he made him the 5/2 morning line favorite…. Really?…you make him the favorite in one of the most prestigious two year old races of the year off just one maiden win?….hmmm, what does Mr. Donovan know that I don’t ????


PP#5- Fortify– was an impressive debut winner and finshed less than three lengths behind Shanghai Bobby in the aforementioned Hopeful in just his second time out. He’s in deep but doesn’t look totally outclassed.


PP#6- Bern Identity– won the Sanford two starts back (with a low speed figure), then was beaten fair and square by Shanghai Bobby (by almost five lengths) in the Hopeful. He, too, looks in deep but not totally out of it.


PP#7- Micromanage– is yet ANOTHER Todd Pletcher two year old that looks to have some ability. This $170,000 yearling purchase by Medaglia d’Oro laid off the early pace before exploding down the stretch to win his debut by 5 lengths while running seven furlongs in1:23. In the process, he scored a very good 84 speed figure….no surprise if he runs big Saturday afternoon, that’s for sure.




1) Shanghai Bobby

2) Archwarrior

3) Goldencents

4) Micromange

5) Fortify


Record: 16-49 = 33%


Little Bets N’ Pieces:

**** 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and three year old champion Animal Kingdom is expected to return in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park, Team Valor International announced this past Tuesday.

Animal Kingdom will be making his first start since Feb. 18 (when he won a turf race at Gulfstream) but developed a stress fracture of the ilium three weeks later that knocked him out of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

The injury did not require surgery and healed with 30 days of stall rest. Animal Kingdom resumed training in June and began breezing Aug. 21.

“Coming off the layoff, the Mile just seems very logical for him,” said trainer Graham Motion, “He certainly has the turn of foot to handle it. The timing is right for his schedule coming back, and the caliber of horse that he is, you’re not going to look for a nice, easy spot. It’s a totally different situation than last winter when we ran him in the Gulfstream allowance to get ready for the Dubai World Cup. Going a mile, we feel he should be very fit for this race, and he deserves the opportunity.”

I found this video of Animal Kingdom breezing  five furlongs in company with Badleroibrown on the turf racetrack across the street from Fair Hill Training Center, this past Tuesday, at Motion’s base in Elkton, Md. The official time was :50.1 for the final four furlongs.


**** 2012 Haskell Invitational winner Paynter underwent yet another surgery on an abscess of the cecum (intestine) this past Wednesday at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center, owner Ahmed Zayat reported Wednesday night.

Doctors removed a 15-inch external growth from the intestines.

Paytner, who has been battling a series of illnesses since late August, went into surgery around 9:15 a.m. EDT and was in recovery by approximately 1 p.m. EDT. Dr. Louise Southwood, who headed up the operation, said he woke up from the anesthetic and stood “like a champ.”

“Just think about the resilience of this guy,” Zayat added.

The owner described the growth that was removed as “full of puss and bacteria—really nasty stuff,” and expressed relief that “we finally got to the bottom of why he was spiking the fever.”

“Thank God nothing went wrong,” Zayat said. “Things went exactly as Dr. Southwood expected; she said it was easy for her to remove the growth, and there were no problems with his breathing or the anesthesia during the surgery or coming out of it.”

“I feel Paynter has fought a lot of battles; he needs to win the war,” Zayat said. “Count my words, fans, Paynter is a warrior … our warrior and champion will win the war. I ask you for your prayers … please, God, deliver him a speedy recovery.”


Paynter needed yet another operation

**** Three weeks after missing the English Triple Crown, Camelot will look to make amends in the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

Camelot, to me, looks like the horse to beat as defending champion Danedream, leading contenders Nathaniel and Snow Fairy all have been withdrawn from the 2,400 meter (almost 1 1/2 miles) event.

Danedream is unable to travel to Longchamp because her stables in Germany have been placed into quarantine after a serious outbreak of an equine infection.  While Snow Fairy will be pointed towards the Breeders Cup and Nathaniel spiked a fever recently.


Camelot tries to rebound in the Arc


**** 2012 Wood Memorial winner Gemologist has been retired from racing and will enter stud at WinStar Farm for the 2013 breeding season.

Gemologist encountered a minor injury in his training last month and was sent to the farm for rehabilitation. After it was determined he wouldn’t make it back to any major races on the remainder of the 2012 racing calendar, the decision was made for him to retire.

“Gemologist is one of the most talented horses WinStar has ever had the privilege to be a part of,” said Elliott Walden, president & CEO of WinStar, which campaigned the colt during his racing career. “He’s a grand-looking individual and displayed the speed, class, and determination of Tiznow, who we believe is on his way to becoming a great sire of sires’.

“It was a tough decision to retire him because he could have come back and raced at 4,” Walden added. “Our core business is stallions, and Gemologist follows in the path of Super Saver and Drosselmeyer− two other top 3-year-olds that we were fortunate to race and bring home to stud. Both of those stallions have had overwhelmingly positive starts to their respective stallion careers, and we believe breeders will love Gemologist just as much.”

A stud fee for Gemologist will be announced at a later date.

Gemologist retires to stud