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Champagne looks like a free-for-all; Belmont Pick 4 enticing

by Jerry Shottenkirk

October 6, 2018

The Grade I Champagne Stakes is not the easiest proposition you’ll run across.

A case can be made for each runner in Belmont's Saturday headliner, and if you took a poll of racing enthusiasts, you'd get a host of names.

A balanced field of 10 necessitates a long look at the strategy you’ll take in the Pick 4, which includes the Grade I Beldame Stakes and the Grade 2 Hill Prince, along with a New York-bred allowance to cap off the card.
Instead of spreading out wide and upping the cost of the Pick 4 ticket, four will suffice on this ticket: Trophy Chaser, Call Paul, Complexity and Listing. The suggested ticket here is $54, which indicates the other races require some multiple selections as well.

So many of the 2-year-olds in the Champagne have already had some attention-getting moments, and there’s a good chance several tickets out there will utilize the “all” button. Of course, some will have a single, and on those, Complexity would probably be the choice.

Trophy Chaser is at Belmont on the heels of a 15-length score at Gulfstream. Clearly, he steps up in degree of difficulty, going from a maiden race in south Florida to a Grade I in New York. That’s a big jump, but the Twirling Candy colt’s smashing 1:09 2-5 performance earned him the right. Trainer Juan Avila put four excellent works into the colt since his Aug. 25 win.

Complexity’s the probable favorite, not only because of his 4 1-4-length win as the 4-to-5 favorite in his debut at Saratoga on Sept 3, but because from the Chad Brown barn. Of his three works since his win, the last two over Belmont’s strip were impressive, and the fact that the Maclean’s Music colt is from the always-hot Brown stable raises his chances and lowers his price on the toteboard.

Call Paul is unbeaten in two, and his maiden win at Delaware was impressive enough to aid in making him the 4-to-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. The Friesen Fire colt trained by Jason Servis has had some moderate breezes in the mornings since last start on Aug. 12 and could continue his streak.

Listing won the I’m Smokin Stakes for California-breds in his career debut. Over the Del Mar surface and at odds of 22-1 against winners, he pulled off an impressive upset for trainer Ben Cecil. The Square Eddie colt. Breaking his maiden in a stakes race and from the rail post position give him some decent cred going into this one.

Here’s the suggested ticket for the late Pick 4 at Belmont Park:
8) #5 Verve’s Tale, #6 Wow Cat, #8 Farrell.
9) #2 Prioritize, #3 Raging Bull, #8 Ride a Comet.
10) #2 Trophy Chaser, #4 Complexity, #5 Call Paul, #6 Listing.
11) #1 Saratoga Treasure, #2 Hollywood Cat, #3 Wantagh Queen.
50-cent Late Pick 4: 5-6-8 with 2-3-8 with 2-4-5-6 with 1-2-3 ($54).