The rain poured hard overtop Saratoga on Saturday, but it couldn’t dampen some horses from running hot to earn big checks. Del Mar and its ever-sunny, warm weather joined in on the fun, too. Check out our latest Three Stars of the Week:
1. Channel Maker
Few American-based turf horses love more cut in the ground than Channel Maker, which he proved yet again in Saturday’s Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. He struck the front early and never received pressure before winning by a wide margin over a soft turf course. He now has 4 wins from 7 starts over grass rated less than firm and will likely make his third straight appearance in the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf (G1), earning his place thanks to the Sword Dancer’s “Win and You’re In” designation.
2. C Z Rocket
This horse has had a Lazarus-like resurrection since being claimed for $40k back in April, having now won 4 straight for current trainer Peter Miller and owner Tom Kagele. After setting a new 6 1/2-furlong track record at Keeneland in his last start, C Z Rocket returned to the stakes ranks and found victory in Saturday’s Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar. Though the race was a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1), Miller indicated that he might instead aim for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) because the Dirt Mile is a two-turn event this year. Regardless of where he goes, this horse will always be a threat with these connections.
When your trainer compares you to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion Mitole, you must be talented. That’s the analogy that Steve Asmussen made after Yaupon kept his perfect record intact with a fast, front-running score in Saturday’s Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. Minor issues kept him from debuting until this past June, but he’s made a quick and immediate impact. Asmussen looks loaded with elite dirt sprinters heading into the fall.