OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Danny Gargan believes he has a solid racehorse in Rosedown Racing Stables’ Champions Dream, who takes on a compact but quality six-horse field in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne going a one-turn mile at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
The Champagne is a “Win And You’re In” qualifying event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 4 at Keeneland.
Champions Dream, by 2018 Triple Crown winner and freshman stallion Justify, was impressive on debut going wire-to-wire in a seven-furlong maiden event on September 3 at Saratoga, which he won by 2 1/4 lengths and registered a 74 Beyer Speed Figure. The gray colt will face five other foes in the Champagne, all of which won their career debut.
“They can all run, you can’t really fault anyone in the race,” Gargan said. “He was impressive winning. If you run one-two-three, you’re any kind of horse. These are six really nice, well-bred horses.”
The competitive Champagne field includes stakes winners Gulfport, Andiamo a Firenze and Top Recruit, as well as Verifying, a Justify colt who is a half-brother to 2019 Champion Older Dirt Female Midnight Bisou.
“It’s a solid race and I think I’ve got a nice horse,” Gargan said. “The only thing I’m worried about, he won so easy first time out and didn’t really have to do anything. I think he’ll go forward off that race, but you never know. He’s going to have to race harder and run better, but I think he will go forward.”
Champions Dream, bred in Kentucky by John C. Oxley, is out of the graded stakes winning Tapit mare Dancinginherdreams and was purchased from the Parrish Farms consignment at the OBS March Sale for $425,000.
Manny Franco, who piloted New York-bred hero Tiz the Law to victory in the 2019 Champagne, will pick up the mount aboard Champions Dream from post 4 at 5-1 morning line odds.
Gargan also will send out Ramblin’ Wreck and maiden Torigo for Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim, a “Win And You’re In” for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 4 at Keeneland.
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Patty Searles and Peter Searles, Ramblin’ Wreck is a half-brother to multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Dakota Gold and will enter off just over two week’s rest for the Pilgrim. The son of New York freshman sire Redesdale broke his maiden in his last out turf debut on September 16 under a stalking trip by Franco.
“We’re running him back fast. I think Chad [Brown] has a really, really good horse in the race [I’m Very Busy], he’ll probably be the heavy favorite,” Gargan said. “It’s that time of year where you have to take a chance. He’s got a big future. He’s young and it’s a little quick back, but he’s doing fine.”
Gargan said Ramblin’ Wreck looks similar to Dakota Gold.
“Dakota Gold was more advanced early than he is and I think this one will go further, but they look alike,” Gargan said. “Next year, he could be super tough in some of those races that Dakota Gold won this year. He’s New York-sired also. He was impressive the other day. [Owner] Dean [Reeves] wants to take a shot in a “Win And You’re In”. If he can jump up and improve, he can be tough.”
Franco will return to the irons aboard Ramblin’ Wreck from post 7 at 15-1 morning line odds.
Arnmore Thoroughbreds and BelMar Racing and Breeding’s Torigo is one of two maidens entered in the 12-horse Pilgrim and finished fourth behind 7-5 morning line favorite I’m Very Busy in his lone effort on August 13 over the Saratoga inner turf. He was a stalking third down the backstretch, and found racing room around the far turn, but was unable to withstand an inside rally from I’m Very Busy, who won by 3 3/4 lengths.
Torigo appears to be exiting a key race as Reckoning Force, the third-place finisher, came back to win the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile on September 14.
“I think this time, we’re just going to sit back and try to follow Chad’s horse around there,” Gargan said. “That maiden race, I think was one of the best. The horse that ran third won a stake at Kentucky Downs.”
Inclement weather predicted to come through the New York area could result in soft turf conditions on Sunday, something that is of little concern to Gargan, who noted the European influence in Torigo’s pedigree. His mother Shadan, by Opren, was a stakes winner in her native France.
“I think he can go forward,” Gargan said. “The mare won over soft going and she was a European horse. Maybe he can, too. He’s a Munnings and I don’t think the soft turf will hinder him like it could others.”
Torgio, installed at morning line odds of 20-1, will be ridden by Junior Alvarado from post 11.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Champions Dream breaks his maiden at Saratoga (NYRA/Coglianese)
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