Canadian Turf H.

(T 8.5f ,)

ENGLISH CHANNEL (CH h, 119 lb) $60,000
Smart Strike —Belva , by Theatrical (IRE)
B—Keene Ridge Farm, KY.; O—James T. Scatuorchio; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Miesque's Approval (B h, 116 lb) $20,000
Miesque's Son —Win Approval , by With Approval
B—Live Oak Stud, FL.; O—Live Oak Plantation; T—Martin D. Wolfson

Silver Tree (CH h, 117 lb) $11,000
Hennessy —Blue Begum , by With Approval
B—Vegso Racing Stable, FL.; O—Peter Vegso; T—William I. Mott

Margins: ¾, ½, 1½. Others: Good Reward 118($6,000) , Gulch Approval 116($3,000) , Big Booster 114 , Muqbil 115 , Everything to Gain 116 , Flirt With Fortune 112 . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

James Scatuorchio’s English Channel has trekked across the country to different racetracks since he was two, running in the money in all but two of his 10 starts. In his 2006 debut, the son of Smart Strike found his way back to Gulfstream Park in south Florida, where he was unplaced at the beginning of his career, but was crowned a winner March 11 in the Canadian Turf Handicap.

“He’s a true fighter and loves what he does for a living,” said Scatuorchio, noting that English Channel makes sure he’s always in the front of the pack, even while walking to the winner’s circle.

Prior to the Canadian Turf, English Channel hadn’t raced since October, when he put in a fifth-place effort in the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.

According to Scatuorchio, the colt is small in stature and feisty by nature. He was given the lay-off to grow and mature under the conditioning of Todd Pletcher’s assistant Mike McCarthy at Payson Park before starting his 4-year-old campaign.

Last year, English Channel captured three straight stakes, including the inaugural Colonial Turf Cup Stakes and Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT)—the first two legs of the $5 million Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass series.

His sixth win in 10 starts, the Canadian Turf Handicap brought English Channel’s earnings past the $1.2 million mark for Scatuorchio. Pletcher and Scatuorchio said the colt was being pointed next toward the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) May 6 at Churchill Downs.

Scatuorchio found a bargain when he paid $50,000 for English Channel at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale from the consignment of Eaton Sales, agent. The colt, who has earned nearly 25 times his original price tag, was bred by Ann McBrayer’s Keene Ridge Farm near Lexington.

Though English Channel’s dam, Belva, was unraced, it is clear that her sire, Theatrical, 1987 champion grass horse, must have passed on some of his winning ways to the colt.

English Channel’s abilities can also be traced to his second dam, Committed (by Hagley), who was champion sprinter in England and a champion miler and two-time champion older mare in France during the 1980s. Committed produced two multiple graded stakes-winning full siblings to Belva, Hap and Pharma, and a stakes-winning half-brother, Committed Dancer (by Nijinsky II).

Belva has a yearling filly by Street Cry and is expecting an Aldebaran foal May 6. She is booked to Ghostzapper.

Smart Strike is the sire of 36 stakes winners, including additional 2006 added-money winner Don’t Strike Out. Smart Strike stands at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $50,000.—E.M.