HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Terry Hamilton’s Spooky Channel pulled off a massive 36/1 shocker to win Saturday’s $200,000 W. L. McKnight Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 11 under Julien Leparoux, Spooky Channel bumped lightly with American Tattoo to his outside before finding a comfortable mid-pack position. Up front, Dubby Dubbie held a slight lead over Cross Border while posting fractions of :24.66, :49.28, 1:13.93, and 1:38.43 for the opening mile.
Heading into the far turn for the second time, Spooky Channel tipped out and began advancing wide around his foes, gaining up to second by the top of the stretch. Continuing to rally strongly with a full head of steam, Spooky Channel collared new leader Cross Border in deep stretch before prevailing by a neck at the wire.
The Brian Lynch trainee completed the 1 1/2-mile event over the firm turf course in a final time of 2:26.16.
Despite getting nailed at the finish line, Cross Border was 2 1/4 lengths clear of Apreciado to take second. Red Knight, sent off as the 4/5 favorite, languished at the rear for much of the running before rallying to fourth. Carom took fifth, while Pumpkin Rumble was 1 1/4 lengths back in sixth.
Completing the order of finish came Prince of Arabia, Dubby Dubbie, Shazier, Salute the Colonel, and American Tattoo. Temple was a trainer scratch.
Spooky Channel’s win was his first at the graded level after finishing off the board in the Arlington Handicap (G3) and the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2) in his two prior attempts. The 5-year-old gelded son of English Channel, purchased for just $10,000 as a yearling, has now earned $207,806 to pair with a record of 12-7-2-0.
Spooky Channel returned $74.60 to win, $29.80 to place, and $17.40 to show. Cross Border brought back $7.40 to place and $5.60 to show, while Apreciado paid $6 to show.