Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s champion Channel Maker took command at the head of the stretch and pulled clear to win the 37th running of the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up by 1¼ lengths over Another Mystery.
In the race prior to the Elkhorn, Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and LNJ Foxwoods’ Scalding won the 91st running of the $300,000 Ben Ali for 4-year-olds and up by 1¼ lengths over Dynamic One.
In the Elkhorn, Channel Maker completed the 1½ miles on a firm turf course in 2:27.10 to eclipse the stakes mark of 2:27 4/5 established by African Dancer in 1999. Bill Mott, who trained African Dancer to back-to-back wins in the Elkhorn in 1998 and 1999, picked up his third win in the race. Jockey Luis Saez notched his second consecutive victory after winning on Say the Word last year.
Favored Two Emmys took the lead out of the gate with Channel Maker, making his first start since finishing fifth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), sitting right off his flank through fractions of :25.13, :49.53 and 1:14.05.
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Going into the far turn, Tiberius Mercurius moved through an opening to the inside of Two Emmys to quicken the pace to reach the mile in 1:37.91. Channel Maker joined the top two with a three-wide move, surged to the front turning for home and was not threatened in the run to the wire.
Channel Maker, a Keeneland sales graduate, is an 8-year-old gelded Canadian-bred son of English Channel out of the Horse Chestnut (SAF) mare In Return. A four-time Grade 1 winner in his career, Channel Maker added $179,025 to his bankroll Saturday to increase his earnings to $3,595,576 with a record of 44-8-6-5.
In 2017, Channel Maker earned a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion 3-year-old colt. He received the 2020 Eclipse Award as North America’s champion turf male.
2022 Elkhorn Replay
Channel Maker returned $9, $4.60 and $3.40 for the Elkhorn win. Another Mystery, ridden by Flavien Prat, returned $6.20 and $3.60 and finished a half-length in front of Bemma’s Boy, who paid $3 to show under Umberto Rispoli.
It was another three-quarters of a length back to Bama Breeze, who was followed in order by Sole Volante, Cullum Road, Two Emmys and Tiberius Mercurius.
Scalding holds off Dynamic One to win Ben Ali
In the Ben Ali, Scalding roared past favored Warrant at the top of the stretch, opened a daylight advantage and had enough left in the tank to hold off Dynamic One.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Javier Castellano, Scalding completed the mile and an eighth on a fast main track in 1:50.30.
The victory is the second in the race for McGaughey, who won with Parading in 2009, and the fifth in the race for Castellano. The jockey’s other victories came with Rated R Superstar in 2018, Protonico in 2015, Exhi in 2011 and Wanderin Boy in 2006.
Cowboy Diplomacy and Mighty Heart led the field through early fractions of :23.72 and :47.71 with Warrant tracking in third and Scalding and Proxy racing a joint fourth another couple of lengths back.
On the far turn, Cowboy Diplomacy backed out of things leaving Mighty Heart and Warrant at the front but Scalding was coming with a three-wide move that propelled him to the front turning for home.
2022 Ben Ali Replay
Now a perfect-four-for-four in two-turn races, Scalding is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Nyquist out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Hot Water. A winner of four consecutive races including the Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in his previous start and owning a 6-4-1-0 record, Scalding has earned $306,150 including Saturday’s check of $181,350.
Scalding returned $12.20, $6.20 and $4.20. Dynamic One, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $6.20 and $3.40 and finished 1¾ lengths in front of Proxy, who paid $2.80 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr.
It was another nose back to Warrant, who was followed in order by Tartufo, Mighty Heart and Cowboy Diplomacy.