Channel Maker sets stakes record in Elkhorn 

April 23, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. –Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s champion Channel Maker took command at the head of the stretch and pulled clear to win the 37th running of the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up by 1¼ lengths over Another Mystery. 

In the race prior to the Elkhorn, Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and LNJ Foxwoods’ Scalding won the 91st running of the $300,000 Ben Ali for 4-year-olds and up by 1¼ lengths over Dynamic One. 

In the Elkhorn, Channel Maker completed the 1½ miles on a firm turf course in 2:27.10 to eclipse the stakes mark of 2:27 4/5 established by African Dancer in 1999. Bill Mott, who trained African Dancer to back-to-back wins in the Elkhorn in 1998 and 1999, picked up his third win in the race. Jockey Luis Saez notched his second consecutive victory after winning on Say the Word last year. 

Favored Two Emmys took the lead out of the gate with Channel Maker, making his first start since finishing fifth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), sitting right off his flank through fractions of :25.13, :49.53 and 1:14.05. 

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 not threatened in the run to the wire. 

Channel Maker, a Keeneland sales graduate, is an 8-year-old gelded Canadian-bred son of English Channel out of the Horse Chestnut (SAF) mare In Return. A four-time Grade 1 winner in his career, Channel Maker added $179,025 to his bankroll Saturday to increase his earnings to $3,595,576 with a record of 44-8-6-5. 

In 2017, Channel Maker earned a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion 3-year-old colt. He received the 2020 Eclipse Award as North America’s champion turf male. 

Channel Maker returned $9, $4.60 and $3.40 for the Elkhorn win. Another Mystery, ridden by Flavien Prat, returned $6.20 and $3.60 and finished a half-length in front of Bemma’s Boy, who paid $3 to show under Umberto Rispoli. 

It was another three-quarters of a length back to Bama Breeze, who was followed in order by Sole Volante, Cullum Road, Two Emmys and Tiberius Mercurius. 

Quotes from the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2)

Luis Saez (winning rider of Channel Maker)
“He’s pretty tricky, but I rode him a couple times before and learned a lot from him. 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 three 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.”

Flavien Prat (rider of runner-up Another Mystery)
“I had a good trip. He ran a good race. To be honest, turning for home I thought I may have had a shot, but the winner was just better.”

Chris Block (trainer of Another Mystery)
“I am very happy. He stepped up against some really good horses today. (Jockey Flavien Prat) did a really great job with him. The race was in stakes-record time, and the winner is a classic mile-and-a- half horse.”

Umberto Rispoli (rider of third-place finisher Bemma’s Boy)
“He did very well. I had a beautiful position. I was behind the horse I wanted to be (behind). I wanted to be behind Channel Maker at the quarter pole when I wanted to make a move, and that’s what happened. (Bemma’s Boy) fought very hard until the wire. I was wishing when Another Mystery came on my outside he would push me a little bit more, but I think Channel Maker was just too good today and the other one just got me at the wire.”

Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Channel Maker. (Coady Photography)

@jonathanstettin Wonderful article! You’re a great ambassador for the game! We’ve been spoiled with elite equine athletes in recent memory.

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