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TORONTO, ON – Trainer Bill Mott’s Channel Maker won a thrilling – and controversial – running of the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, edging out Final Copy by a nose at the wire.
While stewards may have thought that the photo finish would be their only involvement, two claims of foul were lodged against Channel Maker for separate incidents in the stretch run. Jockeys from Glencairn and Seeking Albert each alleged interference, but both were disallowed. Additionally, a claim of foul from Woodbridge against Final Copy for an earlier instance was followed, but that was also disallowed.
The race began easily enough, with jockey Rafael Hernandez settling Channel Maker in near the rear of the field while Major Eclipse set slow early fractions of :26.35, :51.46, 1:16.41, and 1:40.81. Racing three-wide through the far turn, Channel Maker emerged onto the stretch in a seven-wide fight and bumped Glencairn but kept running. Collaring the leaders at the 3/16 pole, Channel Maker drifted in a bit and caused jockey David Moran to pull up slightly on Seeking Albert, but with the finish line in his sight, Channel Maker ran side-by-side with Final Copy and was able outlast him and a late-rallying King and His Court. The final time for the 1 1/4-mile turf marathon was 2:29.70.
“Down the lane, he was just laying over a little bit when he switched to the lead and didn’t bother anybody, as the inquiry showed,” Hernandez said. “I think he’s a good horse, he’s been showing up every time he’s been running, and we won, so that’s good. The plan was good and we made the plans go through.”
Seeking Albert held on for fourth, with Woodbridge, Lookin At Bravo, Conquest Lemonraid, Major Eclipse, Glencairn, and Cool Catomine completing the order of finish.
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Switching back to the turf after finishing fourth on synthetic surface in the $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate behind Canadian super-filly Holy Helena proved to be a worthwhile move.
“He’s always been better on the grass,” Hernandez said. “We waited for this race and he prepared for this race and he showed up today. It’s great.”
Channel Maker returned $5.50 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.70 to show. Final Copy brought back $5.20 place and $3.60 to show, while King and His Court paid $6.10 to show.
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