Don’t Turf Off Channels in Bowling Green at Saratoga

Saratoga Bowling Green

Channel Maker and Channel Cat headline the $250,000 Bowling Green (G2) on Saturday at Saratoga (Photo credit: © Cheryl Quigley |

Channel Cat and Channel Maker are the two to beat when a field of eight line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga.

Channel Maker is the 5-2 morning line favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The gelding makes his first start since running eighth in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) at Meydan Racecourse back in March.

Manny Franco will get a leg up on this son of English Channel and will break from the five post. Channel Maker won the 2018 Bowling Green.

His main foe appears to be Channel Cat (5-1) who drew the rail with trainer Jack Sisterson giving Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez the call. The son of English Channel won the 2019 Bowling Green while in the Todd Pletcher barn.

The six-year-old is looking to rebound off a disappointing seventh place finish in the Manhattan (G1) at Belmont Park on June 5. He won the Man O’ War (G1) back in May by a nose over Gufo with Moon Over Miami third.

“I ran him back in three weeks after the Elkhorn because he was doing so well. I probably should have skipped the Manhattan because he had a tough race in the Man o’ War, but we gave him a little break now prior to the Bowling Green,” Sisterson said. “It was good to see Chad Brown’s horse come back and win the United Nations so the form held up well.”

2021 Man O’ War Replay

The Bowling Green is one of three graded stakes on the 11-race card at Saratoga on Saturday. Essential Quality is the 1-2 morning line favorite for the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2), a prep for the $1.25 million Travers (G1) on Aug. 28.

The co-feature is the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) for three-year-olds and upward going six furlongs on the main track. The race drew a solid group of sprinters including Carter Handicap (G1) winner Mischievous Alex, $2.5 million earner Firenze Fire and the veteran eight-year-old Whitmore who has bankrolled $4.4 million in his 41-race career.

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Let’s head out to Saratoga for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Saratoga Race 10 The Bowling Green G2 (6:13 ET)

#1 Channel Cat   5-1

#5 Channel Maker   5-2

#4 Rockemperor   6-1

#2 Cross Border   9-2

Channel Cat

The six-year-old chased a sharp early pace and tired to finish seventh last out in the Manhattan (G1) at 1 1/4 miles on good ground. Four have exited that race to run back and three have won including the runner up Tribhuvan who won the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park in his next start and Gufo who won the Grand Couturier at Belmont Park on July 5. The six-year-old ran a good second in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland three back and came back off just a three week break to win the Man O’ War (G1) by a nose and appeared to bounce last out. His Man O’ War win was his first since winning this race back in ’19. The stretch back out to 1 3/8 miles suits him and he has handled ground with some give to it which is likely the case today after we were washed off the grass the past two days. He figures to bounce back with a better effort here and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough. With the rail draw Johnny V likely sends him early to get good position on or sitting just off the pace.

Channel Maker

The Mott trainee is back in the U.S. after two starts overseas. He ran well in a runner up finish in the Neom Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia, then was a disappointing eighth in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March. The runner up in that race was Chrono Genesis who came back to win the Takarazuka Kinen (G1) in Japan and the third-place finisher Loves Only You won the FWD QEII Cup (G1) in Hong Kong next out. Last year this Mott trainee crossed the wire fourth in this race and was placed third thanks to a DQ. He then ran big winning the Sword Dancer (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) with matching career top speed figures. He matched that number in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) but it was only good enough for third behind Tarnawa and Magical. The Mott barn is 20% winners with runners coming back off 61–180-day break. The gelding handles ground less than firm and should be forwardly placed along with our top pick.


This five-year-old got a useful prep last out beating Alw-2 optional claimers going 1 1/4 miles at 4-5. He had come up short in the Manhattan (G1) two back where he was fifth and the beaten chalk three back in a third-place finish in the Ft. Marcy (G2). He earned four triple digit Beyers last year without winning, losing out in photos in the Charles Whittingham (G2) and Manhattan (G1). His win last out was his first in the U.S. in 10 trips. He picks up Rosario and looks capable of moving forward off his last outing.


WIN: Channel Cat to win at 7-2 or better.

EXACTA: 1 / 2,4,5 and 1,5 / 1,4,5

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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