Pegasus World Cup Update: Channel Maker Preps

(Trainer Bill Mott conditions Channel Maker / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:

Grade 1 winner Channel Maker has joined the field for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26.

The Bill Mott-trained 5-year-old gelding, 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.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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