Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's hot summer continued when his 3-year-old Ontario-bred gelding Channel Maker fought through the lane to deny a comeback bid by Final Copy and win the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes by a nose at Woodbine Aug. 20.
The Roger Attfield-trained Major Eclipse threatened to pull off a hunch-play upset of the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at 15-1 by setting soft fractions of :26.35, :51.46, 1:16.4, and 1:40.81 through a mile in the 1 1/2-mile turf race until he tired at the top of the stretch, which brought on a cavalry charge of closers.
Final Copy, one of three Attfield entrants in the race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings, raced three-wide throughout and took command from Major Eclipse after a five-wide bid under jockey Patrick Husbands.
Just as Final Copy moved to the front, set to earn his fourth win in a row, he was inhaled by jockey Rafael Hernandez and Channel Maker's rally on the outside in the lane. As Final Copy drifted to the rail, Channel Maker idled and wandered to the inside to set in motion a battle to the wire as Final Copy rallied back. King and His Court and jockey Gary Boulanger appeared on the scene late and threatened to mow them both down on the grandstand side, but the top two were clear and Channel Maker had enough left in reserve to score the victory in a time of 2:29.70.
"Down the lane, he was just laying over a little bit when he switched to the lead and didn't bother anybody as the inquiry showed," Hernandez said. "I think he's a good horse, he's been showing up every time he's been running and we won so that's good. The plan was good and we made the plans go through.
"He kind of made a move like he was going to go win the race and then he just stopped a little bit and came back again," he said. "That's why Joey said we're going to put him on the grass, he's always been better on the grass and we waited for this race and he prepared for this race and he showed up today. It's great."
Husbands was proud of the Chiefswood Stable homebred Final Copy. "He ran game. He really fought back hard," he said. "The last jump and a half, I thought he was going to catch him."
Owned by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable, and Gary Barber, the son of 2007 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) winner English Channel earned his first win of the year and the second in his career. He improved his record to 2-2-2 from 10 starts and raised his earnings to $371,453. He paid $5.50, $3.40, and $2.70 to show.
Final Copy paid $5.20 and $3.60. King and His Court, trained by Mark Casse, returned $6.10 for the show.
It was a sweet return back to Woodbine for Channel Maker, who finished fourth to Holy Helena July 2 in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Queen's Plate. Bred by Tall Oaks Farm, Channel Maker is out of the stakes-winning Horse Chestnut (SAF) mare In Return.