Nearly four months into the new year, and the indomitable ENGLISH CHANNEL is the #3 third-crop sire by cumulative earnings, black-type winners, black-type horses and graded horses, just behind Hard Spun and Scat Daddy.
First, we should mention that Strait of Dover was crowned Champion 3-year-old colt in Canada for 2012. This colt captured the $1M Queen’s Plate in record breaking time.
In 2013, ENGLISH CHANNEL’s son Optimizer has led the way. A homebred colt for Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm (bred under the Bluegrass Hall, LLC banner), Optimizer won his second straight Grade 3 event by daylight when taking the Fair Grounds H. Feb. 23. Sent off the even-money choice following a 3 1/2-length win in the Col. E.R. Bradley H. in January, Optimizer attended the pace over a tiring, rain-soaked sod, dove to the inside and sliced through a narrow opening in upper stretch, and edged away by two lengths under Jon Court. The admirably durable 4yo has now earned over $626,000 in 21 career starts.
It was the second graded winner in February for ENGLISH CHANNEL. Earlier, his 4yo daughter Channel Lady led every step to annex her first graded win in the G3 Suwannee River S. at Gulfstream. Todd Pletcher trains the filly for James Scatuorchio and J.J. Pletcher. Channel Lady was bred by Scatuorchio, Kaygar Stable, Wayne Morris and Bluegrass Hall. Others by ENGLISH CHANNEL to shine in February include the Gulfstream Park allowance winner Parranda and the maiden winners Queen of England and Chuffed to Bits.
March has seen a pair of ENGLISH CHANNEL sophomores earn black-type. Red Wings, another Brad Kelley homebred, ran third in the $550,000 G3 Spiral S. at Turfway Park Mar. 23, while on Mar. 16 the filly Satin Gold placed second in the Spring Chrysler Jeep Dodge S. Satin Gold, bred by Hazel B. Marsh, has now been first or second in five of seven starts.
On Mar. 22, ENGLISH CHANNEL’s 4yo son Blueskiesnrainbows showed that he might be a factor in the handicap division this year. Winner of last season’s G2 Swaps S. over Nonios (PLEASANTLY PERFECT) and a close-up third in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, Blueskiesnrainbows, making his third start for the Jerry Hollendorfer barn, drew off to a 3 3/4-length decision in a one-mile Santa Anita optional claimer on the main track and is likely to return to stakes company soon.
Those results are no surprise, given the way ENGLISH CHANNEL started out the year, which included a big six-winner weekend in January.
The action began at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 26, when the aforementioned Red Wings broke his maiden in a one-mile special weight on dirt. He was representing the potent Bluegrass Hall/D. Wayne Lukas team, which also teamed up for two more homebred winners by ENGLISH CHANNEL on the same day.
Two races after Red Wings won, his fellow 3yo stablemate Channel Isle rallied from last to win a one-mile, $54,000 NW2L on the main track, while Optimizer won the Col. E.R. Bradley H. at Fair Grounds on grass.
The momentum continued on Sunday, Jan. 27. At Gulfstream, ENGLISH CHANNEL’s 4yo filly Seanchai, a $110,000 KEESEP graduate, set very strong fractions in a 1 3/8-mile allowance race on the turf and kicked on to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Todd Pletcher trains Seanchai for Gary L. Chervenell.
Next came the 4yo filly Canchera, a Bluegrass Hall-bred, Linda Marshall-owned filly who dominated a one-mile, Turfway maiden by 9 1/4 lengths on Polytrack. Putting the finishing touches on the weekend was Smart Cat, a Lane’s End sales grad, who made his first start in Sweden a winning one.
On Jan. 18, Skyring, a stakes winner of $229,148, was third in the Fifth Season S. at Oaklawn.
Looking for a stallion who sires a perfect mix of durability and flat-out raw talent? Call or email Gemma Freeman or Jill McCully to discuss season options for ENGLISH CHANNEL!