Freshman sire ENGLISH CHANNEL registered his first winner on Saturday, June 18 when his 2-year-old daughter Ann of the Dance dominated her first start in impressive fashion. The filly was well-touted for her debut, going postward as the 9-5 choice in an abbreviated five-furlong dash. Her backers had some white-knuckle moments early, though, as she was knocked hard coming out of the rail draw and settled at the back of the back, some 10 lengths off the leaders. Things still looked grim in upper stretch when she was again bumped soundly slipping through a narrow opening while seven lengths back. But once angled out for room, Ann of the Dance absolutely flew home to get up and take it by a length. Even track announcer John G. Dooley seemed incredulous, exclaiming, “Ann of the Dance…how much the best was she? The ENGLISH CHANNEL filly in her maiden voyage…WOW!”
The win was a lucrative one for owner William D. Cox and trainer James P. DiVito. In addition to the winner’s purse, the men will share a $25,000 incentive offered during ENGLISH CHANNEL’s first year at stud by Bluegrass Hall to the winning connections of the champion’s first winner. A further $25,000 will be awarded to ENGLISH CHANNEL’s first Grade 3 winner, $50,000 to his first Grade 2 winner, and $100,000 to his first Grade 1 winner!
ENGLISH CHANNEL has three starters thus far, and all have shown ability. In two starts over Churchill’s main track, the 2-year-old colt Sark, a son of Grade 1 winner November Snow (Storm Cat), ran good thirds in MSW competition for Bluegrass Hall and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, while R Next Gem was a near-miss second in the slop at Churchill in his debut for Averill Racing and Steve Margolis.