Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s multiple Grade 1-winner CHANNEL MAKER, bred by Ivan Dalos of Toronto, led at every point of call to capture Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer, a 12-furlong inner turf test for older horses at Saratoga Race Course.
Channel Maker has career earnings now of almost $2.5 million.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 6-year-old English Channel gelding flourished on the soft going and earned an automatic berth to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 7 at Keeneland Race Course.
Saturday’s blockbuster card offered four graded events, including a last-to-first score by Win Win Win in the Grade 1, $300,000 Forego presented by America’s Best Racing at seven furlongs on the main track for older sprinters; a gate-to-wire effort by Yaupon in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam at six furlongs for sophomore sprinters; and Bye Bye Melvin started the stakes action with a dramatic nose score over favored Don Juan Kitten in the Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac at one mile on the Mellon turf for 3-year-olds.
Channel Maker, making his third appearance in the Sword Dancer following a runner-up effort in 2018 and a fourth last year, was sent straight to the lead by jockey Manny Franco to mark the opening quarter mile in 25.10, with Marzo racing inside in second position and Corelli in third.