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ELMONT, NY – Providing an encore for a Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby sweep is a tall order, but Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez was up to the challenge, piloting Channel Cat to the lead at every point of call to hang on for a gate-to-wire victory by a nose in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
“I didn’t think we went that fast,” Velazquez said. “I knew we were going fast, but not quite 22 and change. I gave him loose reins and he was a happy horse up front. I was happy with the way that he was doing things. I felt [Gufo] coming when I was asking him to run.”
Gufo, Moon Over Miami, and Shamrocket completed the order in the Man O’War.
“Thanks to Channel Cat and the staff back at the barn, who do all the hard work to win a Grade 1,” said Sisterson, who now has a Grade 1 win at all three NYRA tracks following Vexatious’ win in the Personal Ensign last year at Saratoga Race Course and True Timber’s victory in December at Aqueduct Racetrack. “I don’t take any credit for this. It’s all due to the people behind the scenes that people don’t see.“He was coming into the race in great shape,” he added. “He ran a great race in the Elkhorn off the layoff and finished up good, closing into fast fractions.”“It’s nice to win a race for the owner,” Sisterson said. “He’s so passionate and supportive of the sport.”Sisterson said Channel Cat remains a possibility for the Resorts World Casino Manhattan (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day June 5.
This is Channel Cat’s first graded stakes win of the year. The 6-year-old son of English Channel improves his record to 26-5-3-5 and is racing’s newest millionaire with $1,373,522 earnings for Calumet Farm.
Channel Cat returned $18.40 to win, $6.30 to place, and $4.10 to show.
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