Channel Maker Returns To Winner’s Circle With Elkhorn Triumph In Stakes Record Time - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Channel Maker Returns To Winner’s Circle With Elkhorn Triumph In Stakes Record Time

Former champion Channel Maker wins the 2022 Elkhorn at Keeneland

Channel Maker, a former U.S. and Canadian champion, halted a seven-race winless skid when drawing clear late and holding on to capture the $350,000 Elkhorn Stakes (G2) Saturday at Keeneland.

Luis Saez guided the 8-year-old son of English Channel to a 1 ¼ length triumph over Another Mystery, who was gaining on the winner in the closing stages but had to settle for second.

Bemma's Boy was a half length back in third in the field of eight older runners. Favorite Two Emmys finished seventh after setting the pace for the first half mile.

Channel Maker finished 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.10 on firm turf, eclipsing the previous stakes mark of 2:27.84 established by African Dancer in 1999. The victory marked his first return to a winner's circle since taking the 2020 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

Two Emmys sprinted to the lead out of the gate with Channel Maker sitting right off his flank through fractions of :25.13, :49.53, and 1:14.05 through six furlongs.

Going into the far turn, Tiberius Mercurius moved through an opening to the inside of Two Emmys to quicken the pace to reach the mile in 1:37.91. Channel Maker joined the top two with a three-wide move, surged to the front turning for home, and was never threatened in the run to the wire.

“He's pretty tricky, but I rode him a couple times before and learned a lot from him,” Saez said after the Elkhorn win. “He used to run on the lead, but we decided last night to take him a little from behind, so the key today was to break and let the 3 horse (Two Emmys) go because we knew that was the speed in the race. So I sat right there at his shoulder, and when we came to the top of the stretch it was all about him.”

Channel Maker, who is trained by Bill Mott, had not raced since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) last November at Del Mar. He came into Saturday's race having previously raced on the Keeneland turf course, finishing third in the 2020 Breeders' Cup Turf.

With the Elkhorn win, Channel Maker's record improves to 8-6-5 from 44 lifetime starts and earnings of $3,595,576. He was the U.S. champion turf male of 2020 and landed Canada's Sovereign Award as champion 3-year-old male in 2017.

An Ontario-bred out of the Horse Chestnut mare In Return, he was bred by Tall Oaks Farm and is campaigned by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing

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