Syndergaard wins the 2016 Funny Cide Stakes

Syndergaard wins the 2016 Funny Cide Stakes

Anne M. Eberhardt

Syndergaard, Practical Joke Duel in Champagne

Pair of stakes winners will confront each other in a short field.

Training titans of both coasts will square off in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at a flat mile Oct. 8 at Belmont Park.

Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher each have two of the six contestants in the race, with Bob Baffert shipping one in from California. Multiple Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Nick Zito also has one in the mix.

Stakes winners Practical Joke  and Syndergaard are the most accomplished of the six pack. Practical Joke (Brown) took the seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course last out in very sharp time, and in both his victories has shown the ability to stalk from off the pace and pounce. Syndergaard (Pletcher) has made hay in his two starts against New York state-bred foes, but was eye-catching winning the Funny Cide Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs by 10 1/4 lengths last time out in the mud. He has led at every call in both starts.

Favorable Outcome (Brown) drew off by six lengths in his initial outing at six furlongs, finishing in 1:09.87. He, too, was able to stalk before drawing off. Baffert sends Big Gray Rocket cross-country after he torched a maiden field at Del Mar to win by 6 3/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Thirst for Victory splashed through the slop to score at Saratoga going seven furlongs, stalking and then winning by three after encountering trouble at the break. He will likely be placed in behind his stablemate Syndergaard in the early running.

Lookin At Blessing (Zito) broke his maiden in his third start, at a mile, and is the only entrant with experience at the distance. He, too, possesses early speed but has not as yet run fractions that would put him alongside Syndergaard early.

Entries: Champagne S. (G1)

Belmont Park, Saturday, October 08, 2016, Race 8

  • Grade I
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $500,000
  • 2 yo
  • 4:13 PM (local)
11Practical Joke (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario122Chad C. Brown4/1
22Thirst for Victory (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateManuel Franco122Todd A. Pletcher15/1
33Syndergaard (NY)John R. Velazquez122Todd A. Pletcher9/5
44Lookin At Blessing (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.122Nicholas P. Zito12/1
55Favorable Outcome (KY)Javier Castellano122Chad C. Brown2/1
66Big Gray Rocket (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith122Bob Baffert6/1