Kentucky Derby Betting News: Champagne Stakes Gives Glance into Churchill Faves

While the 2014 Kentucky Derby is still a ways away, there’s a lot going on in the horse racing industry at the moment that’s playing a big role when it comes to online horse odds.

Recently, the all-important Champagne Stakes was run at Belmont Park. This annual race is a key one for two-year-olds looking to set the early pace for pre-Kentucky Derby bragging rights, and this year’s was no exception as a trio of talented colts showed plenty to throngs of onlookers.

Let’s run down who did what.

Havana Heats Up

The big story at Champagne was Havana, the Todd Pletcher-trained horse that earned Pletcher his fifth career-win at Champagne and third in the last four years.

Saddled by Irad Ortiz Jr, Havana battled early with Debt Ceiling before opening up a pretty good lead along the stretch – about four lengths. That lead dissipated late, though, as Honor Code rallied from the wide position (and from back of the pack) to push Havana right to the wire.

The win put Havana on the tongues of many racing aficionados looking for early Derby handicaps. Though he raised some eyebrows with a solid effort in his debut at Saratoga back in August, this was easily the biggest and most impressive run of Havana’s young career. Now he’s looking at some quality Kentucky Derby horse racing odds in his future.

Honor Code Finishes Second, Walks Away a Winner

While post of the talk from Champagne was about Pletcher and Havana, a large contingent felt that the runner up – Honor Code – actually made a bigger splash on the overall scene, thanks in large part to his absolutely gutsy run.

Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who won the 2013 Derby with Orb, Honor Code again showed his signature late kick. In his debut race, Honor Code trailed by as many as 22 lengths before winning by four-and-a-half, and he displayed much of the same in chasing Havana down the stretch despite trailing by 11 lengths at the half-mile mark.

McGaughey, who classified his horse as “lazy in the first part, until you do ask him,” confirmed what most onlookers thought – Honor Code was actually unlucky to have not caught Havana and showed the type of speed and rallying ability that makes people start to whisper about him when it comes to Kentucky Derby betting.

Ride on Curlin Shows Well

This might be hard to believe given all the praise showered on Havana and Honor Code, but there were people at Belmont who thought the third-place finisher – Ride on Curlin – had the best run of the lot.

Ride on Curlin came in as a 17-1 longshot but showed extremely well, putting together a solid late kick that resembled the one Honor Code put forth. What’s more, Ride On Curlin got beat a total of 1 ¾ lengths – and there was major separation between third and forth. Several people watching figured Ride on Curlin did more than enough to show he’s one to keep in mind when you bet on the Kentucky Derby.



About Tennessee Leduc

Born in Summersville Kentucky, Tennessee is an impassioned fan of horse racing, women, civilized debauchery, and... mint juleps. He writes, he reads, he listens, but above all he experiences the world he lives in.

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