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Channel Cat Among English Channel Trio in Bowling Green

Channel Cat previously won the 2019 Bowling Green for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Channel Cat (inside) prevails in the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park

Channel Cat (inside) prevails in the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park

Coglianese Photos

Calumet Farm homebred Channel Cat and his trainer, Jack Sisterson, are no strangers to springing upsets in graded stakes. Now they'll aim for a mild surprise, with Channel Cat a 5-1 shot on the morning line for the $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes (G2T) at Saratoga Race Course July 31.

The race is a 1 3/8-mile turf test in which comebacking Channel Maker, last year's Eclipse Award-winning turf male, is the 5-2 favorite.

Channel Cat, one of three sons of English Channel  entered, captured the 2019 Bowling Green at odds of 13-1 for former conditioner Todd Pletcher. The 6-year-old chestnut, who was transferred to Sisterson's care last year, won a dramatic renewal of the Man o' War Stakes (G1T) in May at Belmont Park at 8-1 by a nose over Gufo, who was a neck better than Bowling Green-rival Moon Over Miami.

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The Man o' War score completed a personal trifecta of grade 1 wins at all three NYRA tracks for Sisterson following Vexatious' score in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) last year at Saratoga and True Timber's Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) victory in December at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Three-time Bowling Green winner John Velazquez rides Channel Cat, who worked a half-mile in :48.66 July 24 on turf course inside the Oklahoma training track.

"He couldn't be doing any better," Sisterson said. "He's done all his works within himself. On Saturday, John Velazquez worked him and was very happy with him.

"The key to Channel Cat is keeping him happy and he seems to be going into the race in great shape and happy form. We look forward to a fun summer with him."

Last out, in the 1 1/4-mile Resorts World Casino Manhattan stakes (G1T) June 5 at Belmont Park, Channel Cat pressed a fast pace and faded to seventh. 

"I probably should have skipped the Manhattan because he had a tough race in the Man o' War, but we gave him a little break now prior to the Bowling Green," Sisterson said. 

Bill Mott, who is tied with fellow Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher for most Bowling Green victories with four, will saddle a trio of contenders: Channel Maker, graded stakes winner Red Knight, and multiple graded stakes-placed, stakes-winning Moon Over Miami.

Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Channel Maker, a 7-year-old Ontario-bred son of English Channel, boasts a record of 39-7-6-5 with purse earnings in excess of $3.2 million.

The chestnut, last seen finishing eighth in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines (G1T) at Meydan in March, will make his fourth consecutive Bowling Green appearance, including a dead-heat win in 2018, a fourth in 2019, and a third a year ago.

Channel Maker captured the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) last summer, which preceded a victory in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) in October and a third-place finish in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T).

Prior to the Dubai Sheema Classic, he ran second in the Neom Turf Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Saudi Arabia.

Other entrants include Shamrocket, Cross Border, Breakpoint, and Rockemperor.

Entries: Bowling Green S. (G2T)

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, July 31, 2021, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 1 3/8m
  • Inner turf
  • $250,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 6:13 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Channel Cat (KY)John R. Velazquez122Jack Sisterson5/1
22Cross Border (NY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez122Michael J. Maker9/2
33Breakpoint (CHI)Javier Castellano120Chad C. Brown10/1
44Rockemperor (IRE)Joel Rosario118Chad C. Brown6/1
55Channel Maker (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateManuel Franco124William I. Mott5/2
66Red Knight (NY)Tyler Gaffalione120William I. Mott12/1
77Moon Over Miami (KY)Junior Alvarado122William I. Mott7/2
88Shamrocket (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.118Todd A. Pletcher8/1