Channel Maker Goes Wire-to-Wire in Joe Hirsch Repeat
RSS Feeds Monday, October 5, 2020

The classy Channel Maker, making his fourth appearance in the $250,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park, won the race for a second time with a frontrunning victory. 

Owned by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Channel Maker was ridden to victory by jockey Manny Franco.

A 6-year-old gelded son of English Channel the Bill Mott-trained Channel Maker won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in 2018. He finished second in the race last year to Arklow and was sixth in 2017.

When the gates opened for the 1 1/2-mile event, Channel Maker sprung to the early lead while racing off the hedge on the Widener turf course. The pacesetter was joined by Cross Border to his outside, but Channel Maker, who was running comfortably, never relinquished his lead while setting fractions of :22.89, :49.44, 1:14.45, 1:38.20, and 2:01.98. The final time on the firm course was 2:25.99.

Channel Maker's margin of victory was 2 1/4 lengths over Laccario, who traveled from Germany for the race. It was another half-length back to third-place Sadler's Joy in the seven-horse field of older males. The 2-1 favorite, Rockemperor, finished fifth after briefly mounting a run from the outside turning for home.

The 5-2 second choice, Channel Maker returned $7.60 on a $2 win ticket.

Channel Maker elevated his earnings to $2,631,551 and now has a record of 7-5-4 from 36 starts. The $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) Nov. 7 at Keeneland will be his next race, according to co-owner Dean Reeves.

"We would have wanted to envision it working out this way, and it worked out. It doesn't always work out as planned, but it did today and it did last time (in the grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga Race Course)," Mott said. "He had a little pressure early from Cross Border, but he was able to sneak away from him."

Co-owner Randy Hill gave kudos to Channel Maker and Franco.

"You love the horse for the way he fights," Hill said. "His negative side is that sometimes he fights his jockey. He wants his way and sometimes we've had different results, but Manny's ridden this horse perfectly."

Channel Maker was bred in Ontario by Tall Oaks Farm. He is one of three stakes winners out of the stakes-winning Horse Chestnut mare In Return, who also produced Canadian champion Johnny Bear, who won back-to-back running's of the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (G1T) in 2017-18.

Channel Maker was originally campaigned by owner Joey Gee Thoroughbreds in Canada with trainer Danny Vella. His ownership grew after his third race as a 2-year-old in 2016 when Wachtel and Barber purchased an interest. He joined Mott in 2017, and in late 2018, Hill and Reeves came aboard to form the current partnership.

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