Secretariat: Our Channel Draws Form Lines
July 16, 2014 02:27pm
Last weekend’s Grade III $200,000 American Derby produced an exciting finish when Rabbah Bloodstock’s English invader Our Channel was nailed at the wire by Let’s Go Stable’s Divine Oath.  Both horses are considered possible to return for the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes, where they will meet Gary and Mary West’s third-place finisher Highball, a lightly raced son of Lemon Drop Kid who charged late in only his third career start for trainer Wayne Catalano.

The compelling aspect of Our Channel is that – unlike European invader Infinite Magic who annexed the American Derby in 2013 – the William Haggas trainee has European Group I form behind him, albeit an off-the-board performance in such.  The assumption here is that Our Channel is a quality Group II- or III-level 1 1/8-miles to 1¼-miles colt and those who finished in his vicinity at Arlington are of the same caliber in what seemed to be a truly run race.  That being said, the waters get much deeper in the Secretariat and the additional sixteenth of a mile can represent a significant challenge for such a speedy sophomore.

With such form lines drawn, it is easy to assume that Coolmore’s Adelaide – second in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational two weeks ago – is a couple lengths better than Our Channel, especially considering his performance at Royal Ascot two weeks prior.  While it is doubtful that Aidan O’Brien trainee will return to the States so soon, it is highly likely that the race is on the radar of the multitude of Group II- and Group III-level horses at Ballydoyle and elsewhere trying to achieve Grade I glory.

Meanwhile Stateside, Opening Day at Saratoga has produced a salty $100,000 Sir Cat Stakes at a mile on the turf for sophomores worth watching.  Gary Barber and WinStar Farm’s Bill Mott-trained morning line favorite Tourist and Santa Rosa Racing Stable’s Chad Brown-trained second choice Storming Inti represent the class of the field, but the most gripping entrant is Lee Lewis’ Mark Hennig-trained Cabo Cat.  A recent winner of the Manila Stakes at Belmont, the son of 2004 Secretariat Stakes winner Kitten’s Joy is bred to appreciate more ground and another win in New York will hopefully propel his connections into attempting Grade I waters at Arlington.


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