Two-year olds are being given fewer and fewer races to prove themselves at the Triple Crown level, and typically speaking, the ones who end up racing this time of year aren't heard of again in the spring when it really matters.
Still, there's a big, fat purse of $500,000 waiting for two-year olds who make it to Belmont Park this weekend for the Champagne Stakes, and this race has produced Kentucky Derby champs in the past, making it incredibly worthwhile.
1: Magna Light 6/1
2: Greenpointcrusader 5/1
3: Ready Dancer 5/1
4: Sail Ahoy 12/1
5: Ralis 3/1
6: Rafting 8/1
7: Tale of S'avall 7/2
8: Sunny Ridge 20/1
9: Portfolio Manager 12/1
This is the point in a two-year old horse's career that we tend to figure out who they are and what they are going to be in the future. Ralis is the 3 to 1 favorite in this race merely because he has the best history, but that doesn't mean that he has the best future as well. Horse betting pundits know Ralis can race, but can he really race as well as he did in his last run consistently?
If he can, he'll be a Kentucky Derby favorite early on next year. If he can't, he'll be just another horse with a couple nice wins under his belt.
It's also a bit alarming that a horse like Sunny Ridge has already been written off at 20 to 1.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
Oddsmakers are rarely majorly wrong, and we know that they probably weren't that wrong when they made Magna Light a favorite over Ralis and others in the Hopeful Stakes last month at Saratoga. Yes, Magna Light was no match for Ralis that day, but the fact that that was his only defeat still tells us that there is something here.
You don't go from a 2 to 1 favorite in a Grade 1 race against six others to a 6 to 1 longshot against eight others based on just one race. Yes, there are signs that perhaps trainer Rudy Rodriguez doesn't have a colt here who can cover the distance, as he struggled at seven furlongs, but that isn't going to stop us from believing in Magna Light after just one iffy run.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
We're not sure what's up with all of the hate for Sunny Ridge. Yes, the outside post isn't going to help in a one-mile race at Belmont Park, and yes, Jason Servis isn't exactly the most known trainer on the face of the earth. Still, Sunny Ridge did win his last start at the Sapling Handicap at Monmouth. He's moving up in class here, but he has won at this distance before and showed that he had plenty left in the tank in the final strides.
This really is more about the price than the horse. Sunny Ridge isn't the best colt in this field by any stretch of the imagination, but he's worth a flier at 20 to 1.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
The Champagne Stakes could provide one heck of a payout. We'll take Ralis out of the equation. If he beats us, he beats us. We're still not banking on any two-year old at that price against a field this big based on just one really great start that he had.
Instead, we want to box a few horses together. Give us Sunny Ridge, Portfolio Manager (who ran a solid 87 Beyer Speed Rating in his one and only career start and is being moved up to a Grade 1 race immediately) and Magna Light in a trifecta, one which would pay at least $300 or so if it cashed and would be a four-digit payoff if Sunny Ridge turned out on top.
Given the fact that we are asked to just pick a winner though, we'd put our money on Magna Light.
Play Magna Light to win the Champagne Stakes
The horse racing odds for this Saturday race will first be available the day of the race at BookMaker Sportsbook's racebook. With daily rebates of up to 8% and the ability to parlay wagers online, BookMaker has more options and benefits for you to enjoy than any other online shop. Enjoy the thrill of betting on every major track in North America without ever leaving your couch!
Need to fund your account before the big race but don't have your computer? No problem! BookMaker Sportsbook now offers a mobile betting cashier so you can deposit money directly from your smartphone or tablet. Don't miss out on getting paid because you couldn't bet. Click here, and deposit at BookMaker now! The Champagne Stakes is scheduled for Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 4:18 p.m. ET at Belmont Park.