After doing more about-faces than a soldier in boot camp, trainer Bob Baffert has decided that Officer, the leading juvenile in the universe right now, will make his next appearance in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 at 8 1/2 furlongs. Officer, by Bertrando, is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, geared down, by 1 1/2 lengths.
Came Home, who went East to escape Officer and ended up winning the Sept. 1 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) over seven furlongs at Saratoga, returns to his California base to contest the Sept. 29 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet. Lane's End Farm announced last week they had purchased an interest in the son of Gone West, and will stand him when his race career is over.
The Norfolk is coming up somewhat light. Essence of Dubai, a son of Pulpit, is pointing to the race for Godolphin.
The Champagne is the likely next start for the other major players in the Juvenile division at this point, including Jump Start, the A.P. Indy colt trained by D. Wayne Lukas who captured the Saratoga Special (gr. II). Mayakovsky (Matty G) and Thunder Days (Thunder Gulch) are likely for the Belmont test as well.
Keeneland's opening weekend includes the $400,000 grade II Lane's End Breeders' Futurity Oct. 6 over 8 1/2 furlongs.
In last week's racing action, Repent, in just his third start, won the grade III Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park. The Ken McPeek-trained Repent came off a maiden win to capture his first stakes try. He is a son of Louis Quatorze.