Abdulla al Monsoori’s Our Channel will make the trans-Atlantic trip to Arlington International Racecourse to race in both the Grade III American Derby and Grade I Secretariat Stakes, with arrival plans set for Sunday July 6. A winner of two of five races, the son of Champion turf horse English Channel has raced three times on left-handed courses and was last seen finishing a tiring thirteenth in the Group I English Derby on June 7 after setting the pace through the 10-furlong mark.
A closer look at the William Haggas trainee’s race at Epsom reveals a horse who could seriously take to American turf racing. Off sharply, the chestnut was aggressively pushed by Coolmore pacesetter (to eventual winner Australia) Kingfisher through honest fractions, cornered well on Epsom’s sharp Tattenham Corner and kicked on to the best of his ability at the three-furlong marker down the long stretch. A son of multiple graded stakes winning dirt sprinter/miler filly Raw Gold (by Rahy), it is easy to see where he gets his pace and why he may be a perfect fit for Stateside racing scenarios.
In addition to Our Channel’s aforementioned American Derby, the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational remains the key race to watch this weekend. While it is less likely that Michael Buckley’s Toast of New York will return to the States to race in the Secretariat in addition to the Belmont Derby, it is not completely out of the question. Secretariat nominees who could possibly come back in five weeks after a deserving performance include Glen Hill Farm’s Global View, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Bobby’s Kitten, Phipps Stable’s Mr. Speaker and Coolmore’s bi-continental duo of the Todd Pletcher-trained Gala Award and the Aidan O’Brien-conditioned Adelaide.
Impressive on Wednesday afternoon was Mike Maker and F. Thomas Conway’s Secretariat nominee General Jack, who sprinted away from a group of sophomores in the $200,000 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Grand. By Giant’s Causeway out of talented stakes winner J’ray, General Jack seems to be quickly coming into his own for his connections. Maker also trains the chestnut who is now on a two-race winning streak that started with an eye-opening allowance victory at Churchill Downs June 6 - earning him favoritism in the Centaur.