Spooky Channel wins the 17th running of the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)
“Road to the Derby Kickoff Day”
Fair Grounds Press Release
NEW ORLEANS, La. – On October 22, 2021, NBS Stable’s $80,000 claim Spooky Channel rewarded trainer Jason Barkley with his first career graded stakes score in the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland. After a setback that cost him over a year of racing, “Spooky” rewarded Barkley and his team once again, this time for their patience.
In what was his first start in over 14 months, the soon to be 8-year-old gelding Spooky Channel made an early move to engage the pacesetting Gentle Soul through soft fractions of :24.68 and :51.01 over a firm Stall-Wilson turf course with the rails 34 feet out. He took over at the top of the stretch under jockey James Graham and drew clear in the stretch to win the $100,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial by 2 1/4 lengths over the late closing English Tavern. Big Agenda checked in third.
“There was a little concern with him being off so long,” Graham said. “Jason’s (trainer Barkley) plan was to have him ready for today and he did a good job. I was able to lean against him (the pacesetter) Gentle Soul the whole way. I picked him up. It took a little while to get to the next gear, but when he did, he accelerated.”
Crossing the finish line in 1:48.41, Spooky Channel paid $9.80, $5.20 and $3.00. The pacesetting 2-1 favorite Gentle Soul, who drew in off the also eligible list, settled for fourth. Temper Tantrum, Risk Manager, Bizzee Channel and Captivating Moon completed the order of finish.
For Diliberto Memorial, Race 10, forward to 15:38.
With the win, the gelded son of English Channel now sports a record of 26-12-4-0 and a bankroll of $661,722.
“True team effort,” Barkley said. “James (jockey Graham) didn’t fight with him. He let him do what he wanted to do. We have a lot of options. The more options the better as a trainer. We know he can win at 1 1/2 miles. We’ll just let him tell us what he wants to do.”
Racing at Fair Grounds is back on Thursday with the first post scheduled for 1:15 p.m CT and a card of eight races on the dirt. On Saturday, Dec 31, the stakes action picks back up with the $100,000 Pago Hop, $100,000 Woodchopper, the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity (Boys), and the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity (Girls).