Homeboykris collared Discreetly Mine in the homestretch and drew clear late to win the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Belmont Park Oct. 10. Dublin, the 3-5 favorite in the field of six 2-year-olds, finished fifth.
Edgar Prado rode the winning Roman Ruler gelding to victory for Richard Dutrow Jr., who took over the training duties three months ago. Homeboykris, who broke his maiden in his last start July 11 at Calder Race Course, earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita.
Discreetly Mine took second, with Aspire third. The final time for the one-turn mile event was 1:35.12 over a track labeled fast.
Bloodstock agent Nick Sallusto helped Dutrow acquire Homeboykris, as he did with champions Benny the Bull and Stardom Bound, as well as top turf miler Kip Deville and Sunshine Millions and Swale Stakes (gr. II) winner This Ones for Phil. Sallusto spotted Homeboykris after his 3 1/4-length maiden win at Calder, and owner Louis Lazzinnaro purchased the horse privately.
The connections had a tremendous turnout in the winner’s circle, including Sallusto, who Dutrow patted on the shoulder in thanks.
“I was going to be disappointed if we got beat; you know my game,” Dutrow said. “When we got This Ones for Phil out of Calder, I wasn’t expecting him to run that strong of a race in the Sunshine Millions. (Homeboykris) got ready at the right time, and it set up good for us.”
Discreetly Mine broke on top, but recent maiden winner Super Saver quickly moved up on the rail to make the lead and race through a quarter-mile in :22.79 and a half in :45.78. Discreetly Mine pressured the leader from the outside, while Prado bided his time in third on the outside and just behind the leaders. Dublin trailed in fifth.
On the turn, Discreetly Mine turned up the pressure and eventually took over in the stretch. Prado, however, turned Homeboykris loose with a furlong to go and edged clear to win.
Aspire rallied for third and was followed by Super Saver, Dublin and Overlap.
“He’s just been training sensationally,” said Prado, who won five races on the Belmont program. “His last couple of works have been here, at Belmont, and he loves the track. The question was whether he would handle the competition, and he did.”
Of Dublin, Lukas said. “I don’t think he handled that very well. Other than that, he didn’t get into it as much as he normally does, nor did he seem like he was as comfortable on the track as I thought (he would be), but they all ran over the same track. So, we’ll look into it.”
Homeboykris is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup, but Dutrow said he would prefer to stay in New York and wait for the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 28 at Aqueduct.
“But if the owners want to put up the money and go to the Breeders’ Cup, I’d be OK with that,” he said.