November 30, 2020

Channel Cat leads throughout in Bowling Green upset

Channel Cat and jockey Luis Saez upset the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Saturday, July 27, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Susie Raisher

Disinterest from some of his 11 opponents in setting the pace worked to the advantage of Channel Cat in Saturday’s $250,000 Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga.

Sent to the front by Luis Saez when no one else wanted to go, the 13-1 chance proceeded to set fractions of :24.66, :49.87, 1:15.52, and 1:39.14. Coming under pressure turning for home and through the stretch, the Calumet Farm homebred found more and outlasted Chilean invader Ya Primo and others to win by a half-length.

Channel Cat finished up 1 3/8 miles on the firm inner turf in 2:14.43 and paid $29.20. Ya Primo held second by a neck over Arklow, with 5-2 favorite and 2018 Bowling Green co-winner Channel Maker in fourth.

“We wanted to get away cleanly and get some position going into the first turn, and it’s not a real long run going into the first turn going a mile and three eighths,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We didn’t want to get hung out on three turns, but he kind of caught a flyer and relaxed, and Luis was riding with so much confidence. When you make a decision like that, sometimes it works out.”

This was the first graded stakes win for Channel Cat, who captured the $400,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and the $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel last fall. He had placed in only two of his previous seven graded attempts, though his best finish was a close third as the favorite in the June 22 United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park. His record now stands at 16-5-2-3, $738,292.

Channel Cat, a four-year-old son of the Pletcher-trained turf champion English Channel, was produced by Carnival Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy.