A quality field lines up in Saturday’s Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga, including Channel Cat and Channel Maker.
The Channels are among the leading contenders in the 11-furlong race and it could be one of the more competitive races on the Saratoga card.
Channel Cat, Channel Maker and Cross Border are past winners of the Bowling Green Stakes, and they will be well-favored to win with the online sportsbook.
Cat Ready to Prowl
The Jack Sisterson-trained Channel Cat has mixed form this season, but the son of English Channel is a past champion of the Bowling Green Stakes. He was 5-1 on the morning-line odds.
He had nine runs without winning following the breakthrough victory in 2019, which included a placing in the Grade I Sword Dancer and a second placing in the Grade II Elkhorn Stakes before winning the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont.
Sisterson admits he should have skipped the Manhattan, in which his horse finished seventh last start, after a tough race in the Elkhorn.
“I ran him back in three weeks after the Elkhorn because he was doing so well. I probably should have skipped the Manhattan because he had a tough race in the Man o’ War, but we gave him a little break now prior to the Bowling Green,” Sisterson told The Paulick Report. “It was good to see Chad Brown’s horse come back and win the United Nations so the form held up well.”
By a top horse out of a daughter of another top turf horse, Channel Cat is bred for the grass. Oh, and his female family includes 1986 Washington D.C. International (G1) victor Lieutenant’s Lark and grass graded/group winners Dove Hunt and Down the Flag https://t.co/hQIwEWLmOG
— Carly Silver (@CarlyASilver) May 8, 2021
Channel Cat has been put through his paces in recent work at Saratoga, including a half-mile run in 48.66 seconds. Channel Cat is progressing nicely and horse racing betting markets will respect his chances.
“He couldn’t be doing any better,” Sisterson said. “He’s done all his works within himself. On Saturday, John Velazquez worked him and was very happy with him. The key to Channel Cat is keeping him happy and he seems to be going into the race in great shape and happy form. We look forward to a fun summer with him.”
Channel Maker Still a Threat
He might be an aging seven-year-old, but Channel Maker is good enough to win his second Bowling Green Stakes.
Also a son of English Channel, he won the race in 2018, finishing in a dead heat with Glorious Empire. His career since has included top-level wins in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Man o ’War Stakes, Sword Dancer Stakes and a second win in the Joe Hirsch.
The Eclipse Award for Male Turf Horse goes to CHANNEL MAKER! 🏆
— Breeders’ Cup (@BreedersCup) January 29, 2021
The favorite at 5-2, he comes off an eighth in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March and he has been given time to recover from the trip. Trainer William Mott is happy with his progression since arriving back in the United States.
“He’s doing great, looks great and has traveled well,” Mott said. “He’s just a nice horse to have in the barn. He always shows up even if he doesn’t win.”
Channel Maker’s experience in big races holds him in good stead. To go along with his plethora of Grade I wins is a Breeders’ Cup Turf placing and a fifth in the Pegasus World Cup. He has raced at the top level throughout his career and that’s a testament to his quality, so we wouldn’t be leaving him out of Bowling Green Stakes selections.
Cross Border With Upset Claims
It would be rare for one sire to produce the trifecta in a major race, but Cross Border could complete the feat for English Channel.
Cross Border (9-2) gives the former Todd Pletcher-trained English Channel his third chance in the Bowling Green Stakes and he’s worth including in selections.
The Michael Maker-trained seven-year-old has yet to win in 2021, but he owns a placing in the Pegasus World Cup and a third placing in the Grade II Pan American.
Cross Border is the defending Bowling Green Stakes champion and we can’t overlook that form. He followed the win with a second placing in the Sword Dancer behind Channel Maker, so the form checks out.
He hasn’t won for a year, but he dropped in grade and almost scored in the Belmont Stakes last start, so a win wouldn’t be a surprise.
It could pay to watch late betting moves with Cross Border.