11/06/2016 2:30PM

Champagne Room will likely take path to Kentucky Oaks

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Susie Raisher
Champagne Room will likely next race in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes in February, trainer Peter Eurton said.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Champagne Room emerged from her upset win in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in good shape and most likely will take the southern California path to the Kentucky Oaks next May.

Dismissed at 33-1 as the second-longest shot in a field of 12, Champagne Room and jockey Mario Gutierrez dominated the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies, surging to an open lead in midstretch before finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of late-closing Valadorna. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 78, easily the lowest of the nine Saturday BC events.

Santa Anita-based trainer Peter Eurton said Champagne Room likely will bypass the Grade 1 Starlet on Dec. 10 at Los Alamitos and get a brief rest before a 3-year-old campaign possibly starts with the Grade 1 Las Virgenes here Feb. 5.

“We want to set her up for next year,” Eurton said.

Champagne Room is owned by a local partnership that includes Joe Ciaglia and Sharon Alesia, whose late husband, Frank, was a main client of Eurton’s for years. Ciaglia was at the forefront during the post-race interviews.

“Well, we started out really kind of claiming horses, Pete and I, and Mr. Alesia, and another man named Mike Mellon,” Ciaglia said. “We were just happy winning. Slowly we started buying horses and learning from that, and Larry Zap, our bloodstock agent, and we started spending a little bit more and a little bit more.”

Meanwhile, Valadorna will be flown back to Churchill Downs “for the time being,” trainer Mark Casse said.

Five Grade 1 winners finished behind Valadorna, a Stonestreet Farm homebred who was coming off a maiden victory. Those fillies were Union Strike (sixth), Noted and Quoted (seventh), Dancing Rags (eighth), Yellow Agate (10th), and Sweet Loretta (11th).

“We beat them all,” Casse said. “She may or may not run again this year. She might go to Stonestreet for a little while. Whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll make a plan to get her to the Kentucky Oaks.”

Champagne Room became the sixth Grade 1 winner of the group – and with hers being a Breeders’ Cup event, she would seem to have the edge on all others in regard to divisional Eclipse Award voting.

Added Casse on Valadorna: “If there was some way to somehow make her the champion 2-year-old filly, we’d maybe try it, but I don’t know what we could do to get that.”

American Gal, the surprising favorite at $4.40-1, ran a terrific race when finishing third. Off two sprint wins, she was expected to set the pace, but after breaking from the far outside post and veering wide entering the first turn, she momentarily found herself trailing the entire field. She then looped about half the field on the first turn and continued a steady surge while remaining wide, nearing the lead at the quarter-pole before flattening out down the stretch to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Valadorna.

American Gal and Noted and Quoted will remain at Santa Anita with trainer Bob Baffert, who enjoyed another huge Breeders’ Cup Day by winning the Classic with Arrogate and the Sprint with Drefong.

Fourth-place finisher Daddys Lil Darling was full of run in the final furlong after racing well back for most of the way. Trainer Ken McPeek said Sunday he will consider the Grade 2 Golden Rod on Nov. 26 at Churchill.

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen