A field of nine evenly matched sophomores will assembleat Belmont Park for the inaugural running of the $100,000 English Channel at a mile on the Widener Turf.
Amerman Racing's A Lot has been tabbed the mild 3-1 favorite as he makes his sixth straight stakes start. Winner of the Paradise Creek in May at Belmont, the Tapit colt has been first or second in all seven appearances in 2015 and most recently was second in the Better Talk Now at Saratoga Race Course. The Bill Mott trainee will leave from post position 9 with Junior Alvarado aboard.
Expected to vie for favoritism with A Lot are a quartet of 3-year-olds from diverse backgrounds, ranging from Vision Perfect, a multiple stakes winner on the grass, to March, a dual graded stakes winner on dirt who will be making his turf debut.
Trained by David Donk, Vision Perfect will be getting some class relief and cutting back in distance after three straight graded stakes. Last time out, he finished second in the Grade 3 Hill Prince after leading through most of the 1 1/8 miles over soft going before yielding to Takeover Target in the final yards. The Robert Spiegel color-bearer took the Woodhaven to kick off his 2015 campaign before finishing a non-threatening seventh in both the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and the Grade 3 Saranac.
Listed at 4-1 on the morning line, Vision Perfect will leave from post position 2 with Manny Franco in the irons.
March, trained by Chad Brown for Robert LaPenta, won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on the dirt in June in his only appearance at Belmont Park. The Blame colt, winner of the Grade 3 Bay Shore at the Aqueduct Racetrack, next finished a well-backed sixth on both the Grade 2 Amsterdam and the Grade 1 King's Bishop at the Spa.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride March, 5-1 on the morning line, from post position 8.
Nonna's Boy, the second choice on the morning line at 7-2, was a front-running victor in his turf debut, the 1 1/16-mile Lamplighter in July at Monmouth Park. Stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the Saranac, the Repole Stable-owned colt set the pace to the top of the stretch and wound up fourth, beaten 5 ¾ lengths.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride from post position 4.
Making his first stakes start will be European import Team Colors, who in three stateside allowance races finished second and third at Saratoga and most recently first going 1 ¼ miles at Belmont. At 6-1 on the morning line, Team Colors will have the services of Joel Rosario when he leaves from post position 6.
Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are Offering Plan, also trained by Chad Brown; Weekend Express, a rallying winner of a first-level turf allowance at Monmouth last time out; HighRider, who beat A Lot in the Better Talk Now but then finished eighth in the Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs; and the Monmouth-based Gallery, who in June won the one-mile Manila at Belmont.
Source: NYRA Communications