10/02/2007 11:00PM

BC Juvenile: Majestic Warrior preps

EmailMajestic Warrior, the leader of the division, will have his final tune-up for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when he heads the field on Saturday in Belmont Park's Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne Stakes, which features a rematch between Majestic Warrior and Ready's Image.

They met for the first time in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, where Majestic Warrior rallied to win the race and assume the role of antepost favorite for the Juvenile.

"He is at least until Saturday," his trainer, Bill Mott, said Wednesday morning. The Champagne is a one-turn mile, shorter than the Juvenile by 110 yards and one turn.

The Champagne is one of two significant preps Saturday for the Juvenile. The other is the Grade 1, $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, which drew a field of 12 when entries were taken Wednesday. The winners of both races receive automatic berths to the Juvenile through the Breeders' Cup's "Win and You're In" program. These are the only two preps that offer guaranteed spots in the Juvenile. Both races will be shown live on ESPN, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Mott believes the extra distance of the Champagne "should be beneficial" for Majestic Warrior. "It's not going to hurt him," he said.

Mott also will have Z Humor in the Champagne. Z Humor had been scheduled to run in the Breeders' Futurity, but was moved to the Champagne by owner Ahmed Zayat after J Be K, a Zayat-owned colt trained by Bob Baffert, was forced to pass the Champagne. "They wanted to run, so I will oblige them," Mott said.

Todd Pletcher, who trains Ready's Image, had considered bypassing the Champagne and going straight into the Juvenile, but said Ready's Image "is ready to run." Pletcher said he also was attracted by the smaller field for the Champagne compared to the likely field for the Juvenile, which will have up to 14 starters.

Others expected for the Champagne are Sapling Stakes winner Lantana Mob (trained by Steve Asmussen) and the unbeaten War Pass (Nick Zito).

Pletcher also will have action in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Futurity with Saratoga Special runner-up The Roundhouse and Referee. Mott will be represented by Tend. Wicked Style, the winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity over Polytrack for trainer Rusty Arnold, is also entered.