Colonial Turf Cup S.

(T 9.5f ,)

ENGLISH CHANNEL (CH h, 118 lb) $300,000
Smart Strike —Belva , by Theatrical (IRE)
B—Keene Ridge Farm, KY.; O—James T. Scatuorchio; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Exceptional Ride (B h, 116 lb) $100,000
Chester House —Adorable Slew , by Dixieland Band
B—Mr. & Mrs. R. David Randal, KY.; O—Kahn, Eliah and Lisa; T—Kenneth G. McPeek

Interpatation (DK B/ g, 118 lb) $55,000
Langfuhr —Idealistic Cause , by Habitony (IRE)
B—Jack O. Thompson, KY.; O—Elliot Mavorah; T—Robert Barbara

Margins: 3½, ¾, 1. Others: Classic Campaign 116($30,000) , Criminal Mind 116($15,000) , Mad Adam 120 . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

James Scatuorchio’s English Channel will go down in history as the first winner of the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs June 25. The inaugural 13/16-mile turf event was the first of four races in the $5 million Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass series, and according to Scatuorchio, the 3-year-old colt will be back for the series’ second leg, the $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. III) on July 16.

“I love this place and I can’t wait to come back,” the owner said after the race. It’s no wonder he loves Colonial Downs. A year and one month prior to English Channel’s victory, he celebrated Dubleo’s win in the Chenery Stakes at the Virginia track. Scatuorchio owns Dubleo in partnership with J.J. Pletcher and Pete Wetterman.

Trained by 2004 Eclipse winning trainer Todd Pletcher, English Channel, under jockey John Velazquez, relaxed behind race leader Mad Adam, then made a steady advance on the turn before exploding in the stretch to a 31/2-lengths score. The son of Smart Strike covered the distance in 1:56.37, clocking the final three-sixteenths in :16.80.

English Channel is now four-for-five, having entered the Colonial off his first added-money win in the May 21 Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico.

Ann McBrayer’s Keene Ridge Farm near Lexington bred English Channel and consigned the colt to the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale, where Scatuorchio purchased him for $50,000. He was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.

There is no question that English Channel inherits some of his turf abilities from his damsire, 1987 champion grass horse Theatrical. English Channel’s dam, Belva, was unraced, but the colt’s abilities can also be traced to his second dam, Committed, (by Hagley), a champion sprinter in England and a champion miler and two-time champion older mare in France, who twice won the group I Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.

Committed, a sibling to stakes winners Christiana Hundred and Wooing, produced two stakes-winning full sisters to Belva: multiple grade II winner Hap, and Pharma, winner of the 1996 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IT).

Belva has a yearling full brother to English Channel, who Keene Ridge sold for $100,000 at the 2004 Keeneland November mixed sale to Greenwich Cattle Co., Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, agent.

Belva had a Street Cry filly March 1 and has been bred to Aldebaran.

Smart Strike is the sire of 31 other stakes winners, including 2005 added-money winners Shadow Cast (gr. II), High Strike Zone (gr. III), Added Edge (gr. III), Soaring Free, who won the Scotts Highlander Handicap (Can-IIIT) the day after the Colonial Turf, Gold Strike (Can-III), Brett’s Favrette, and Hatpin. Smart Strike stands at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky. His 2005 fee is $35,000.—A.W.