Channel Maker Coast To Coast in Soggy Sword Dancer


Channel Maker | Sarah Andrew

Channel Maker (English Channel) is now a Grade I winner at ages four, five and six after wiring the GI Sword Dancer S. over a soggy Saratoga turf course Saturday. The victory also earned him a spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland in November.

Gliding up to dictate terms, the 8-1 shot was under a tight hold by Manny Franco through measured splits of :25.10, :51.14, 1:17.27 and 1:42. with Marzo (Medaglia d'Oro) on his tail. That rival called it quits on the backstretch and his stablemate Aquaphobia (Giant's Causeway) took his place with Corelli (Point of Entry) alongside him. Turning for home in front, Channel Maker still had plenty left in the tank and readily responded when asked for more by Franco, cruising clear to a decisive victory.

“He was strong throughout the stretch,” said winning trainer Bill Mott. “He ran a powerful race. He loves the going. He likes it here. He's tough when he turns for home on the lead. We thought Marzo could be on the lead and we might be laying second, but opportunity presented itself for him to be on the lead and the jockey accepted the opportunity and it worked out very well. Sometimes, you make the right decision and it worked out well today.”

“He's not an easy horse to ride,” said Franco. “We try to go to the lead but sometimes he doesn't break good. But today, we were able to make it and he was traveling the whole way fine and handled the soft ground really well.”

“Early on, I thought Manny had him in a great position,” said co-owner Dean Reeves. “He broke well and said that afterwards he had a lot of horse. So, he just took his time and got him in position and he got going early into the turn and just left everybody. It was a spectacular ride and the horse did the job.”

Winner of this venue's GII Bowling Green S. back in 2018 on soft turf, Channel Maker was second in that year's renewal of this event before scoring his first top-level success in the 2018 GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic S., also run over a soft course. His next victory at the highest level came in the 2019 GI Man o' War S. and he was fourth in that season's Sword Dancer and a close second when attempting a title defense in the Joe Hirsch.

A well-beaten 12th behind Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar (Giant's Causeway) in last November's BC Turf, the gelding was fourth in the GII Mac Diarmida S. at Gulfstream Feb. 29 and could only manage eighth next out in the GII Mervin Muniz Memorial Cup S. at Fair Grounds Mar. 21. Filling the same spot in Belmont's Tiller S. June 4, the Ontario-bred completed the superfecta in the GI Manhattan S. July 4 and crossed the line fourth last time in the Aug. 1 Bowling Green, but was promoted to third after Sadler's Joy (Kitten's Joy) was disqualified for interfering with Channel Maker in the stretch.


Pedigree Notes:

Channel Maker is one of nine Grade I winners, 28 graded stakes victors and 52 black-type scorers for Calumet stalwart English Channel. The winner's full-brother is Sovereign Award winner Johnny Bear, who captured consecutive renewals of Woodbine's GI Northern Dancer Turf S. Their stakes-winning half-sister Court Return (Court Vision) is the final foal out of their stakes-winning dam In Return and both of them set new course records with their black-type scores. Channel Maker hails from the family of Grade I winner Auntie Mame (Theatrical {Ire}).

Saturday, Saratoga
SWORD DANCER S.-GI, $500,000, Saratoga, 8-29, 4yo/up, 1 1/2mT, 2:34.86, sf.
1–CHANNEL MAKER, 122, g, 6, by English Channel
1st Dam: In Return (Outstanding Broodmare-Can, SW), by Horse Chestnut (SAf)
2nd Dam: Bartered Bride, by Shadeed
3rd Dam: Lady Vixen, by Sir Ivor
($57,000 RNA Ylg '15 KEESEP). O-Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable & Reeves Thoroughbred Racing; B-Tall Oaks Farm (ON); T-William I Mott; J-Manuel Franco. $275,000. Lifetime Record: 35-6-5-4, $2,494,051. *1/2 to Court Return (Court Vision), SW, $116,342; full to Johnny Bear, Ch. Turf Male-Can, MGISW, $702,706. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Cross Border, 120, r, 6, English Channel–Empress Josephine, by Empire Maker. ($180,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP; $10,000 2yo '16 OBSOPN; $100,000 4yo '18 FTKHRA). O-Three Diamonds Farm; B-Berkshire Stud & B D Gibbs (NY); T-Michael J Maker. $100,000.
3–Aquaphobia, 124, h, 7, Giant's Causeway–Pussycat Doll, by Real Quiet. O-Paradise Farms Corp, David Staudacher, Hooties Racing LLC & Skychai Racing LLC; B-M Roy Jackson (KY); T-Michael J Maker. $60,000.
Margins: 5 3/4, 3HF, 4. Odds: 8.00, 3.15, 4.80.
Also Ran: Sadler's Joy, Corelli, Pedro Cara (Fr), Marzo. Scratched: Highland Sky.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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