No Catching CHANNEL MAKER in G1 Sword Dancer

Originally published on

A clear early lead and a liking for a turf course softened by an afternoon thunderstorm Aug. 29 was a recipe for success for Channel Maker in the $500,000 Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course.

The 6-year-old English Channel gelding went to the lead under Manny Franco and was never challenged en route to an emphatic 5 3/4-length victory. Cross Border ran second, followed by stablemate and third-place finisher AquaphobiaSadler’s Joy was fourth, while CorelliPedro Cara, and Marzo completed the order of finish.

Privately purchased by BSW/Crow in his 3yo year for owners Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable, Channel Maker really hit his stride as a 4yo when he earned his first Graded Stakes win in the G2 Bowling Green. After his win in the 2018 G1 Joe Hirsch, BSW/Crow then resyndicated the gelding to owners R. A. Hill and Reeves Racing. Their investment was quickly rewarded as Channel Maker earned his 2nd lifetime G1 win in the Man o’War at Belmont.

“I made the lead and tried to open up to let them know I wanted to go, and they let me go. It worked out good for me,” said Franco, who next week will pilot favored Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs.

The Sword Dancer was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event for the Nov. 7 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) at Keeneland.

“That water gets very deep. We’ve tried it a couple times and it hasn’t worked out with him. You get a whole different group of horses,” he said. “But who knows? There was a year at Keeneland where it was a bottomless ground, and if that situation came up, maybe he would benefit from it.”


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