Complexity gets BC Juvenile berth with Champagne win
Courtesy of David Grening of DRF.com
ELMONT, N.Y. - Complexity is bred to be fast. How far he’ll ultimately carry that speed remains to be seen. On Saturday, he certainly carried it far enough, easily recording a front-running three-length victory in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
Code of Honor, who stumbled badly at the start, recovered to rally from last to be second, three lengths clear of Call Paul, who nosed out Aurelius Maximus to be third.
Trophy Chaser finished fifth and was followed, in order, by Endorsed, Casa Creed, who stumbled at the break, Listing, Successful Zip, and Achilles Warrior.
The win, the second in as many starts for Complexity, earned the son of the speedy sire Maclean’s Music a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. Chad Brown, the trainer of Complexity, won the Juvenile last year with Good Magic, a horse who finished second in the Champagne.
Brown acknowledged that Good Magic, by Curlin, was bred to go a route of ground. He said Complexity’s talent may carry him long as well.
“His pedigree may not limit him how far he can go,” Brown said. “He’s just a rare horse, exceptional horse.”
In his debut, on closing day at Saratoga, Complexity broke a step slow, but recovered to make the lead by the first call and win by 4 1/4 lengths.
He broke sharp on Saturday and was put on the lead by Jose Ortiz after an opening quarter in 22.51 seconds. He maintained that advantage through a half-mile in 45.31 and extended his lead to 2 1/2 lengths after running six furlongs in 1:09.40. Complexity was never threatened in the lane as he settled for a three-length score.
Complexity, a $375,000 yearling purchase by Seth Klarman at Keeneland September in 2017, covered the mile in 1:34.63 and returned $7 as the 5-2 favorite.
“Everybody said he’s bred to be a sprinter, he proved everybody wrong,” said Ortiz, who won four races on Saturday’s card. “He could go a mile, he did it in good fashion . . . I think he can do the mile and a sixteenth, but that will probably be as far as he wants to go.”
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is run at 1 1/16 miles.
Code of Honor, a front-running debut winner at Saratoga, stumbled badly leaving the gate in the Champagne under Eric Cancel. He was about eight lengths back after the opening half-mile, rallied five wide in the lane, and finished a clear second.
“I thought he ran a hell of a race,” said Shug McGaughey, who trains Code of Honor for Will Farish Sr. “To be back where he was, the way the track is, to make that kind of a run, eat as much dirt as he did and still finish the way he did, I thought it was very good.”
In 2013, Honor Code - also owned by Farish and trained by McGaughey - was beaten a neck in the Champagne by Havana and was kept out of the Breeders’ Cup, which was held that year at Santa Anita. This year the Breeders’ Cup is at Churchill.
Farish, a former BC board chairman, was non-committal when it came to the Juvenile.
“I’m going to just go where it suits the horse,” Farish said. “We’re very high on him, obviously. That was a big race. I hated that he stumbled, but I’m glad that he didn’t cut himself or anything. We got a long way to go.”
For more of the best horse racing analysis, go to DRF.com. Read up to 30 premium articles free every month! Check it out.
- September 20, 2021
Churchill Down’s Fall meet has commenced, and this past Saturday’s “Downs After Dark” program had fans tracking ascending stars.
- September 18, 2021
At its meeting last night, the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors unanimously elected Barbara Banke as Board Chairman. Owner of Stonestreet Farms in Lexington, Ky., Banke becomes the first woman to Chair Breeders’ Cup Limited.
- September 17, 2021
$1 Million Ricoh Woodbine Mile Headlines Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Races on Saturday and Sunday in Canada on NBCSN
The “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” will be at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto for two live programs of outstanding turf racing on Saturday, Sept. 18 on NBCSN (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET).