Not sure how today’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes will impact the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile three weeks hence but I’m fairly certain there will be some Derby colts coming from this group--if they stay healthy and continue developing, of course.

We can make a case for four or five of these but instead will concentrate on two: Cribnote (4-1) and Munnings (6-1), the second and third finishers in the G1 Hopeful. Each had a rough trip but it’s not so much what happened during but what happened after the fact.

While watching the vent, I wasn’t sure Cribnote wanted to remain between the fences. He bore out as badly as any horse we’ve ever seen while remaining healthy, regrouped while continuing extremely wide, rallied strongly and nearly won the race. Further, he earned a new top pace figure in that race, another indication that this colt might be something special, at least while running middle distances. Trainer Rick Violette is adding blinkers and the colt has responded with two strong works, including a recent bullet.

Munnings, meanwhile, lost all chance at the break, stumbling then taking a few awkward steps. This is a big colt who should improve with experience while growing into his considerable frame. Laudably, the colt re-engaged and made a strong middle move into contention before settling for third. He finally draws an outside post and the wide expanse of Belmont Park will allow him to settle into a rhythmic stride for the first time. He’s been working extremely well since shipping back to his home base.

Taking Munnings to win at 4-1 or greater, an exacta box with Cribnote, and as a trifecta key first and second, adding recent very impressive maiden breaker, Brave Victory (6-1) and troubled Futurity fifth, Gone Astray (8-1).

Running Totals: (286) 86-60-33 Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only] {Friday’s results not included}