Owner Al Gold (middle) and trainer Jeremiah Englehart (right) greet Aveenu Malcainu after his Aug. 25 Funny Cide victory at Saratoga

Owner Al Gold (middle) and trainer Jeremiah Englehart (right) greet Aveenu Malcainu after his Aug. 25 Funny Cide victory at Saratoga

Anne M. Eberhardt

Aveenu Malcainu on Right Path for Champagne

New York-bred has best last-out Equibase Speed Figure.

Gold Square's talented 2-year-old Aveenu Malcainu, who was impressive in a pair of wins against state-breds, takes on open company in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) Oct. 7 at Belmont Park.

Aveenu Malcainu won his debut July 28 and is coming off a 2 1/2-length victory against state-breds in the Aug. 25 Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The day was eventful for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, who said the Into Mischief  colt hit his head and scratched his nose in his stall that morning.

The bumps and bruises didn't deter a winning effort, in which he outkicked Inalienable Rights and What a Catch. Englehart said he initially planned on having him run in the Sept. 2  Hopeful Stakes (G1), but wanted additional time to prepare.

"We originally were looking at the Hopeful, but we felt the state-bred stakes would give us extra preparation time for the Champagne," he said. "We felt all along he can (handle) open company."

Aveenu Malcainu has won at 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 furlongs and earned the highest-last out Equibase Speed Figure (98) in the field.

"He's a big horse, so I'm hoping the Belmont track will play to his favor," Englehart said. "I look at the numbers and it's comparable to a lot of others running throughout the country. We felt all along that he could do it. We'll just see if he makes that step up in this start."

Coming off a one-length victory on the dirt at Saratoga in his Aug. 26 debut, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Coolmore's Hazit will be making his first stakes appearance for trainer Todd Pletcher. A son of War Front —Rumor, by Indian Charlie, Hazit outran Good Magic to win at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do so far," Pletcher said. "He's breezed well, so we're optimistic that he'll continue moving forward and handle the stretch out to a mile.

"He's a little bit of an unassuming colt. He just goes about his business. All summer, every time we breezed him, he seemed to take a step up. He gave us the impression he'd run well in his debut and he did and subsequently he's come back and trained really well."

Good Magic, who earned an 87 Equibase Speed Figure in that runner-up effort, showed enough to warrant a step up in competition, trainer Chad Brown said.

"His number was good in his race," Brown said. "His Ragozin was good, too, and I use that as a tool. This horse is training really well. He looks like he's going to move forward off that number. Whether it's good enough or not, I'm not sure."

Good Magic, a $1 million purchase out of last year's Keeneland September yearling sale by bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, is by Curlin  out of the stakes-winning Glinda the Good. He races for e Five Racing and Stonestreet Stables.

Godolphin's Enticed showed grit rallying from fifth to break his maiden in the Saratoga mud Sept. 4. By Medaglia d'Oro , Enticed is the second foal out of grade 1 winner It's Tricky.

Firenze Fire is the field's only entrant to have a graded stakes win on his ledger. He captured the Sanford Stakes (G3) by a length over Free Drop Billy July 22 at Saratoga. The Jason Servis trainee is coming off a fourth-place effort in the Hopeful. The Florida-bred son of Poseidon's Warrior  is a homebred for Ron Lombardi's Mr. Amore Stable.

SHEA: Firenze Fire Upsets Sanford Stakes

Servis will also saddle Full of Run, an impressive maiden winner Aug. 26 at Monmouth Park. Gary and Mary West's homebred is from the first crop of the West's Power Broker (Pulpit).

Trainer Eric Guillot will saddle a pair of first-time stakes starters in Stronger and Master Manipulator.

Southern Equine Stable's Stronger (Bodemeister ) broke his maiden Aug. 27 at Gulfstream Park going a mile over the dirt. Stronger posted a bullet five-furlong breeze in :59 Sept. 30, and Guillot expects the colt to finish strong in the Champagne.

"I couldn't get him any better. He's doing great," Guillot said. "The reason I came here and not the (Claiborne) Breeders' Futurity (G1) in Kentucky is that the horses in that race have a little more experience at two turns. Stronger really wants to go two turns, but a lot of the bigger-number horses are coming off sprints at Saratoga and have to prove they can get the one-turn mile."

Calumet Farm and Southern Equine's Master Manipulator will seek his first win in three starts.

Entries: Champagne S. (G1)

Belmont Park, Saturday, October 07, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade I
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $500,000
  • 2 yo
  • 4:13 PM (local)
11Kowboy Karma (KY)Alex Cintron122J. Larry Jones12/1
22Blame It On Honey (KY)Kendrick Carmouche122Anthony Farrior50/1
33Stronger (KY)Manuel Franco122Eric J. Guillot15/1
44Enticed (KY)Junior Alvarado122Kiaran P. McLaughlin10/1
55Master Manipulator (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAngel S. Arroyo122Eric J. Guillot20/1
66Good Magic (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz122Chad C. Brown7/2
77Bahamian (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez122Simon Callaghan5/1
88Aveenu Malcainu (NY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez122Jeremiah C. Englehart6/1
99Honorable Treasure (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDylan Davis122Kenneth G. McPeek6/1
1010Full of Run (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNik Juarez122Jason Servis15/1
1111Hazit (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Todd A. Pletcher4/1
1212Firenze Fire (FL)Irad Ortiz, Jr.122Jason Servis10/1