Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Grade 1 winner Channel Maker has joined the field for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26, it was announced Friday, giving trainer Bill Mott two horses in the upcoming race.
The 5-year-old gelding Channel Maker, who is owned by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, is on course to make his ninth Grade 1 start in his last 10 races in the world’s richest turf race on the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Series program.
The Ontario-bred gelding achieved Grade 1 stakes status while winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park Sept. 29 by 4 ½ lengths. He will seek to rebound from an off-the-board finish in the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Dean and Patti Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and R.A. Hill, who were represented in the first two editions of the Pegasus World Cup, joined the ownership group of Channel Maker last fall.
“He has put up some really great numbers. We looked at him as a horse that, for a number of years, we could run in the top turf races, not only in the United States, but we could take this horse to England or Dubai, wherever we wanted to go,” Dean Reeves said. “Certainly, we had the Pegasus as a race we were going to point to when we talked about partnering in the horse.”
The son of English Channel broke his maiden in a stakes race at Woodbine in his second career start of his juvenile season. His sophomore campaign was highlighted by a victory in the $400,000 Breeders Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and capped by a second-place finish in the Hollywood Derby (G1). In his 4-year-old campaign, he went from Grade 1-placed to a Grade 1 winner.
“English Channel horses seem to get better the older they get. He being a gelding, the bottom line is that he is a horse we’ll continue to race. Hopefully, he’ll continue to improve,” Reeves said. “He’s very sound. He gives us the opportunity to get into some really solid races.”
Mott’s other contender, Yoshida, ran fourth by less than two lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3. Winner Accelerate and runner-up Gunnevera are both being pointed to the Pegasus World Cup.
“He’s done great. He had a little bit of a break for the month of November and then started back training. He’s had three breezes at Payson Park and Bill is really happy with him. He’s continued to fill out and do well and we’re excited about the upcoming year with him,” said WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden Walden. “He’s unbelievable. He’s been a good horse from Day 1.”