Crusading to victory in the Champagne
by Laura Pugh
Greenpointcrusader came bursting onto the Breeders Cup Juvenile scene with a powerful performance in Belmont’s Champagne Stakes. With that victory he earned himself an automatic berth into the Breeders Cup Juvenile.
Greenpointcrucader had never run at Belmont Park, never run in the mud, and he lacked experience, but it didn’t matter. He still prevailed in dominant fashion.
Greenpointcrusader slipped at the start of the race, putting him in a disadvantageous position early on. At that point there are only two things to do: rush up and get a better spot or lay back and make one run. Jockey Joe Bravo elected to lay back and wait, despite the fact that Belmont had been playing to speed most of the day.
When the horses made their moves it was Sunnyridge who emerged to the lead. Ralis made a bold move, but could not sustain the bid. With a furlong left, Sunnyridge was looking to spring a massive upset, but it was then that Greenpointcrusader kicked into gear.
From seemingly out of the clouds, Greenpointcrusader came charging down the stretch in that final furlong. He was coming so quickly that when he came to challenge Sunnyridge there wasn’t even a chance for that foe to retaliate. He blew by him and easily opened up at least four lengths on the wire. An impressive performance to say the least.
Greenpointcrusader was let go at odds of 8-1 in the Champagne. After his performance today, I seriously doubt we’ll see that come Breeders’ Cup. What made this colt’s win so impressive is that he had absolutely nothing go his way. Going in, he had never won on the mud and lacked racing experience. Then he slipped at the break, giving away a huge tactical advantage. Then not only was he able to overcome his adversities to win, but he did so while proving much the best.
This colt is a full brother to Grade 3 winner Algorithms, so it was inferred that there was talent there. He confirmed suspicions of talent when breaking his maiden, and today had his coming out party. Algorithms’ career was cut short just as he began to display his brilliance. Maybe Greenpointcrusader will be able to carry on his older brother’s torch.