|The Champagne Stakes is an
American Grade 1 flat horse race for two-year-old thoroughbreds and is
run annually in October at Belmont Park on dirt over a distance of 1
mile. Inaugurated in 1867, the Champagne Stakes is the oldest and most
historical race of its kind on the American horseracing calendar today.
It was named after the British Champagne Stakes, a race that has
been run annually at Doncaster Racecourse in South Yorkshire, England
since 1823. The (US) Champagne Stakes is part of the Breeders' Cup
Challenge 'Win and You're In' series, which sees the winner
automatically qualify for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Champagne Stakes was run at Jerome Park Racetrack where it was held
until 1889. It was then moved to the Morris Park Racetrack and run there
until 1904. From 1905 until the present, Belmont Park in Elmont, New
York has been the main home of the prestigious Champagne Stakes, except
for a few years.
In 1959, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1984
the Champagne Stakes was run at New York's Aqueduct Racetrack. Over the
years this race has seen plenty of top horses, trainers and jockeys
strutting their stuff, including Braulio Baeza who has ridden the most
winners with five - in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1975.
Champagne winners include Triple Crown Champions Count Fleet (1946) and
Seattle Slew (1977), and American Horse of the Year in 1978 and 1979,
Affirmed (who lived to the ripe old age of 26). Many other Champagne
Stakes winners have gone on to earn themselves places in the Racing and
Hall of Fame.