Shanghai Bobby will look to continue his dominance of the East Coast juvenile division on Saturday while taking on some familiar faces as well as a few newcomers in the Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne at Belmont Park. The Harlan's Holiday colt brings a perfect three-for-three mark into the one-mile contest, and will try to use the race as a springboard to Breeders' Cup Juvenile glory and year-end championship honors.
Following an easy four-length romp in his maiden debut at Aqueduct in mid-April, Shanghai Bobby wasn't seen in competition again until showing up at Belmont for a one-length score in the Track Barron Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher on June 27. The dark bay earned a nice 103 BRIS Speed rating for that one and returned during the Saratoga meet to take the Grade 2 Hopeful by 3 3/4 lengths.
Shanghai Bobby recorded a pair of nice moves since that last one and will keep jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard for the Champagne.
Fortify and Bern Identity did their best to run down Shanghai Bobby in the Hopeful lane, but wound up second and third, respectively, in that seven-furlong contest. The former, a Distorted Humor bay conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin, entered the Hopeful off a 5 1/2-length maiden debut win just a month earlier at the Spa. He had Joe Bravo aboard for both those starts but will be getting a jockey switch to Ramon Dominguez
Bern Identity, on the other hand, brought a nice victory in the Grade 2 Sanford to the Hopeful party but finished 4 1/2 lengths back in third that day. Edgar Prado has the call on the Kelly Breen-trained son of Bernstein as he tries to get back to his winning ways.
Goldencents, Archwarrior and Micromanage all bring easy maiden debut wins into the Champagne. Doug O'Neill took over the training on Goldencents following his 7 1/4-length romp on September 2 at Del Mar, but jockey Kevin Krigger retains the mount on the Into Mischief bay.
Pletcher will send out two other runners in Archwarrior and Micromanage. The former, a dark bay son of Arch, captured his first race by 3 1/4 lengths at Saratoga on August 30 and gets the talents of John Velazquez in the irons. His Medaglia d'Oro stablemate Micromanage was five lengths clear on the wire in a Saratoga maiden on September 1 and will get a jockey change to Joel Rosario for his stakes bow.
The Champagne field is completed by Chief Havoc, a Kentucky-bred Giant's Causeway chestnut who will be making his U.S. debut off a pair of placings in England.
Just like the Champagne, a field of seven juvenile fillies will line up in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette one race earlier on Belmont's Saturday card. Leading the group is yet another undefeated Pletcher trainee in Dreaming of Julia.
The A.P. Indy miss has dominated her two races thus far, breaking her maiden by 10 1/2 lengths before a 16 1/4-length frolic around the track in the Meadow Star Stakes on September 9. Dreaming of Julia won that latter event at the Frizette distance of a mile, and keeps Velazquez aboard for her graded debut.
My Happy Face will be looking for her first stakes win in the Frizette, and the Rudy Rodriguez pupil could upset the likely favorite under Dominguez. The Tiz Wonderful gray lass ran second in her career bow at Saratoga, but returned with a 21 1/4-length canter to break her maiden one month later.
Also in with a chance to upset Dreaming of Julia is Sweet Shirley Mae, a daughter of Broken Vow who ran second in the Grade 1 Spinaway last out, as well as Carameaway, a Lawyer Ron chestnut miss who broke her maiden by 8 3/4 lengths at Belmont on September 13.
Belmont's Saturday stakes action will wrap up with the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica Handicap sending three-year-olds nine furlongs on the inner turf. Dullahan is the top draw off a half-length victory against older rivals in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, but the Even the Score chestnut has only ever been able to win on synthetic tracks. He'll try to break that trend on Saturday with Rosario holding the reins.
Summer Front had the lead in the Grade 1 Secretariat stretch two months ago before being passed late to wound up third on the wire. The War Front bay will be looking for a return to the winner's circle in this spot.
Other Jamaica contenders include Grade 3 Saranac hero Unbridled Command, a gray son of Master Command who brings a three-race win streak into the race, and Howe Great, a Hat Trick colt who scored in the Jersey Derby prior to a closing second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last out.