Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational S. (gr. I)

(gr. IT , 12f ,)

ENGLISH CHANNEL (CH h, 126 lb) $360,000
Smart Strike —Belva , by Theatrical (IRE)
B—Keene Ridge Farm, KY.; O—James T. Scatuorchio; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Freedonia (GB) (B m, 123 lb) $120,000
Selkirk —Forest Rain (FR) , by Caerleon
B—The Niarchos Family, GB.; O—Flaxman Holdings, Ltd.; T—John E. Hammond

Royal Highness (GER) (B m, 123 lb) $60,000
Monsun (GER) —Reem Dubai (IRE) , by Nashwan
B—Gestut Etzean, GER.; O—Monceaux Stable; T—Pascal F. Bary

Margins: 4½, neck, head. Others: Interpatation 126($30,000) , Frost Giant 121($18,000) , Dreadnaught 126($6,000) , Icy Atlantic 126($6,000) . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

English Channel made up for his runner-up effort in last year’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont with a clear-cut triumph in this year’s running Oct. 7 as the 3-5 favorite. The victory, by 41/2 lengths, was his fourth of the year from six starts and the third lifetime in a group I event. He took the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (gr. IT) in May and the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) in July.

Owner James Scatuorchio paid a bargain price of $50,000 for English Channel, who has earned $2,379,028. Scatuorchio bought the son of Smart Strike at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale from Eaton Sales, agent.

English Channel was bred by Ann McBrayer’s Keene Ridge Farm. At the recent Keeneland September sale, English Channel’s half-sister by Street Cry sold for $725,000 to John Ferguson. Gainesway consigned as agent for McBrayer.

Belva, dam of English Channel, produced an Aldebaran filly this year. She is in foal to Ghostzapper and is consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale.

English Channel inherited a good deal of turf ability from his broodmare sire, Theatrical, and second dam, Committed. Theatrical won the 1987 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational before the race bore the name of the great Daily Racing Form columnist. Theatrical, who also won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), was voted an Eclipse Award as leading male grass runner.

Whereas Theatrical excelled at lengthy distances, Committed was best sprinting and at a mile. She was a champion at both distances in Europe. Both of her stakes winners, grade I winner Pharma and grade II winner Hap, were by Theatrical.

Scatuorchio has raced additional graded winners More Than Ready, Ready to Please, Ready’s Gal, Scat Daddy, and Dubleo (in partnership). A grade I winner, More Than Ready is the sire of Ready to Please and Ready’s Gal.

Smart Strike has sired 42 stakes winners. His 10 stakes winner this year also include Tungsten Strike (Eng-II), Chin High (gr. IIIT), and Bel Air Beauty, who won the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland the day before the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. Smart Strike stands at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky. His 2006 fee was $50,000.—D.S.