The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Officer got his first feel for Belmont Park this morning, jogging a lap with exercise rider Simon Harris aboard, the New York Racing Association press office reported. Officer, who has won all four of his career starts, will be a heavy favorite in Saturday's grade I, $500,000 Champagne at a mile and a sixteenth, one of four grade 1 races including the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. Officer, trained by Bob Baffert, arrived at Belmont yesterday afternoon. He is scheduled to gallop tomorrow.
The Champagne is one of the final legs of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge. Bessemer Trust will award $250,000 to the owner of any horse who wins one of the series' six designated races plus the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27th. If that horse goes on to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) the following year, the owner will earn an additional $1 million bonus.