Warrendale Graduate Channel Maker Secures Champion Turf Male Title
RSS Feeds Friday, January 29, 2021

Front-running tactics were partially responsible for Channel Maker's 2020 success, but it was his late surge—over the season, not within his races—that propelled him to an Eclipse Award as outstanding male turf horse.

Winless over his first five races of last year, the gelded son of English Channel turned around his 6-year-old campaign over his final three starts of 2020, all in the late summer and fall under take-charge handling from jockey Manny Franco. The veteran grass runner led from start to finish in the Aug. 29 Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course, repeated similarly in the Oct. 3 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park, and then nearly stole the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) before settling for third.

In the Breeders' Cup Turf Nov. 7 at Keeneland, he outran all of his North American-based counterparts, losing only to Irish females Tarnawa and Magical, while spotting them three pounds apiece.

Racing for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and owners Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Channel Maker finished the year two-for-eight with earnings of $839,443.

Last year wasn't his first time shining in elite stakes company. In previous seasons, he had taken the Joe Hirsch in 2018 and the 2019 Man o' War Stakes (G1T) at Belmont.

Not bad for a gelding co-owner Adam Wachtel said some jockeys don't like riding, owing to the gelding's running with his head high in the air. In light of this trait, Wachtel believes Channel Maker is most effective when he can dictate terms.

"It wasn't until we got him back on the lead and let him run free that he started to do what he was really made to be. He's a pretty cool horse," Wachtel said.

A savvy buy from his owners, too. Watchtel and Barber have been on board since his 2-year-old year in the fall of 2016 when they bought a 50% interest from original owner Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Wachtel said. Later, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing joined Wachtel and Barber as owners after Channel Maker won the 2018 Hirsch.

Bred in Ontario by Ivan Dalos' Tall Oaks Farm, the $2.9 million earner is one of two grade 1 winners produced by his dam, the Horse Chestnut mare In Return, the other of which is two-time Northern Dancer Stakes (G1T) victor Johnny Bear.


Courtesy of the Bloodhorse

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