by Jarrod Horak
Which horse has the best
pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on
Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues
Optimizer’s sire English Channel (by Smart Strike) won
13 of 23 races from 2004-07. The turf marathon specialist won such prestigious
races as the G1 Secretariat, G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, G1 Joe Hirsch
Turf Classic, G1 United Nations, and G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He earned more than
$5.3 million in his career and in addition to Optimizer he is the sire of stakes
winners Skyring, Strait of Dover, and Star Channel. His currently stands for a
$25k stud fee at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.
English Channel’s sire Smart Strike (by Mr.
Prospector) went 6-for-8 in 1995-96 including wins in
Monmouth’s G3 Salvator Mile and G1 Iselin. He has sired many stakes winners
including Curlin (2nd Belmont Stakes), Lookin At Lucky, and My Miss Aurelia.
English Channel’s dam Belva is an unraced daughter of Theatrical-IRE
(by Nuryev), bred in Kentucky by the late Allen Paulson. She is responsible for
multiple graded placed Sedgefield (by Smart Strike), who finished 5th
in the ’07 Kentucky Derby.
Optimizer’s dam Indy Pick (by A.P. Indy) captured 2 of
6 starts in New York. Her lone stakes try resulted in an 8th place
finish in the 2001 Gazelle (G1). She was bred/owned by Ogden Phipps and trained
by Shug McGaughey.
A.P. Indy (by Seattle Slew) won the G1
Hollywood Futurity in 1991 to end his juvenile season. In 1992, he captured the
G2 San Rafael, G1 SA Derby, G2 Peter Pan, and G1 Belmont Stakes. He wrapped up
his stellar career with a victory in the G1 BC Classic. He sired more than 135
stakes winners including Bernardini, Mineshaft, and Belmont Stakes winner Rags
Indy Pick’s dam Fantastic Find (by Mr. Prospector) captured
6 of 14 starts in 1989-90 including the G1 Hempstead.
Optimizer has stamina
influences throughout his pedigree. He has lost eight straight conventional
dirt starts in the stakes ranks and would probably appreciate a return to
preferred turf footing for trainer Wayne Lukas. He is graded placed on dirt and
has the breeding to handle twelve furlongs at Belmont Park on June 9.