Our Channel Makes Trek for American Derby
Abdulla al Monsoori's Our Channel leads a group of contenders aspiring toward the Aug. 16 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park, their first target the $200,000 American Derby (gr. IIIT) on "Million Preview Day" at the Chicagoland oval.
One of four graded stakes on the Saturday card, the 1 3/16-mile American Derby will be a chance for Our Channel to recover from a tired thirteenth in the June 7 English Derby (Eng-I), whree he faded after setting the pace to the 10-furlong mark.
A winner of two of five races for trainer William Haggas, the son of champion turf horse English Channel has raced three times on left-handed courses and qualified for the English Derby with a wire-to-wire win April 23 in the Investec Derby Trial. He is out of the Rahy mare Raw Gold, a multiple graded stakes winner on dirt at sprints and miling, and could seriously take to American turf racing.
Our Channel was bred in Kentucky by Bluegrass Hall but was pinhooked out of the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale for $30,000 by Jim McCartan, resulting in his European career thus far when purchased for $42,438 by Blandford Bloodstock at the Goffs Kempton 2-year-old breeze-up sale last year.
Chief Barker is another who began his career overseas, winning three in a row for Middleham Park Racing and Richard Hannon including the Betfred TV Ascendant Stakes at England's Haydock Park last September before he was purchased by Suzanne Stables.
Now trained by Larry Rivelli, the Irish-bred Azamour colt was eighth in his stateside debut, the May 3 American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT), but improved off that Churchill Downs outing with a fourth in the Arlington Classic Stakes (gr. IIIT) on May 24.
Also exiting the Arlington Classic is local runner Afortable, who races for Team Block and Thomas Fedro Sr. under the supervision of trainer Chris Block. By Fort Prado , Afortable made a mild gain after racing well back when favored in that start, but could not get past the top two and settled for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind winning filly Istanford. Added ground would seem to aid the Block trainee, who has two wins from four starts.
One of interest in this spot is Let's Go Stable's shipper Divine Oath, a Broken Vow colt who exits a fourth in the May 31 Penn Mile Stakes. Runner-up on Polytrack in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) earlier this season, the Todd Pletcher trainee was making a good late gain at the end of his last start.
Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, July 12, 2014, Race 9
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