In an awesome-looking performance, Vineyard Haven won the $400,000 Champagne (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. The victory would likely stamp him as an early favorite for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr.I) (VIDEO) Oct. 25, if he was being pointed to the Oct. 25 race at Santa Anita.
However, it is unlikely Vineyard Haven, a 5 3/4-length winner over Munnings, will head to the Breeders’ Cup, according to his trainer and majority owner, Bobby Frankel. Vineyard Haven, a son of Lido Palace, is not nominated to the Breeders’ Cup and would have to be supplemented for $180,000. Frankel, who was at Keeneland Oct. 4, said by phone: “I don’t think he will go. Why? Because I don’t have to give back any purse money he won (in the Champagne) to go to the Breeders’ Cup, and I can run him in the Hollywood Futurity (gr.I) instead.”
The Champagne is a “Win in and You’re In” race, which means Vineyard Haven earned a starting berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. His connections, however, would still be responsible for the colt’s supplemental and entry fees. Vineyard Haven is co-owned by Louis Lazzinnaro and Joe Torre.
Under Edgar Prado, Vineyard Haven quickly shot to lead in the one-mile Champagne. A. P. Cardinal just as quickly gave chase, so Prado wisely eased his mount back to second. Following an opening quarter-mile in :22.74 and a half-mile in :45.59, Vineyard Haven was in command. Prado was sitting chilly on Vineyard Haven, who quickly burst away from his rivals as he straightened for home. The gray colt was a blur in the stretch, as he distanced himself from his nine rivals.
Vineyard Haven completed a mile in 1:36.06 over a track labeled “fast.”
“I saw the horse win in Saratoga,” said Prado, who was aboard Vineyard Haven for the first time in the afternoon. “I’ve ridden him a couple of times (in the mornings). He broke nice and easy. I had pressure, but he kept pricking his ears and going so easily. I was moving along a little bit, but when I called on him, he just accelerated. How many horses do you know that can do that: go fast, relax on the turn and then find another gear? I had to ease up in the last part because he was opening up too much on the group.”
Cribnote, the tepid 3-1 favorite, finished third, three-quarters of length behind Munnings.
Vineyard Haven, the second choice, returned $10.40. The exacta combining Vineyard Haven and Munnings paid $87.
Frankel purchased Vineyard Haven after he won his career debut at Calder in June. Following a third-place finish in the Sanford (gr.II) at Saratoga in July, Vineyard Haven won the Hopeful (gr.I) Sept. 1 at Saratoga.
Vineyard Haven was bred by his original owner and trainer, Lynne M. Scace, in Florida. He has earnings of $419,000 and record of 3-0-1 in four starts.