Challenging Officer will be Overbrook Farm's Jump Start, winner of the grade II Saratoga Special in his second start. He will be looking to make amends for a fifth-place finish in the grade I Hopeful. The field for the grade I Champagne includes: Saarland (John Velazquez); Jump Start (Pat Day); Heavyweight Champ (Jerry Bailey); Officer (Victor Espinoza); and Thunder Days (Mark Guidry).
All eyes will be on Officer when five 2-year-olds take the post for the grade I $500,000 Champagne Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park. The Champagne is last local prep for juvenile colts before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 27, also at the New York oval.Officer, owned by The Thoroughbred Corporation, is the king of the juveniles heading into the Champagne. The son of 1993 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) winner Bertrando has yet to make a mistake while racing in his native California, winning all four of his starts with ease. He enters the Champagne as the only multiple graded stakes winner in the field. The Champagne will be the first time for Officer and his four foes to negotiate the 1 1/16 mile distance.