English Channel at Belmont Park Draws Full Field Led by Catapult

A full field goes on the turf in the $100,000 English Channel at Belmont Park.(photo credit:  © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

A full field goes on the turf in the $100,000 English Channel at Belmont Park.(photo credit: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

A full field of 12 three-year-olds will head to the gate in Sunday’s $100,000 English Channel at Belmont Park, a one mile test on the turf course with the Chad Brown trained Catapult looking live at a generous 8-1 on the morning line.

The race is one of two stakes on the turf at Belmont Park on Sunday. Weather knocked the races off the turf on Saturday and the conditions figure to be less than firm.

Catapult passed his first allowance condition last out on the main track at Saratoga in a race washed off the turf. The colt did break his maiden on the lawn in his debut at Belmont Park last October going a mile.

The son of Kitten’s Joy breaks from the five post with jockey Javier Castellano retaining the mount.

The George Weaver trained Isotherm is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The colt was second last out in the Commonwealth Derby (G2) at Laurel Park in his last start. He won the Pilgrim (G3) at Belmont Park last fall and then was 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

He reunites with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode the colt for the first time two back at the Spa in a third place finish in the Saranac (G3).

Also on today’s card at Belmont Park is the $200,000 Athenia (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf. A field of 11 was entered, 10 for turf and one main track only entrant.

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Strike Charmer is the 5-2 morning line favorite and is coming off a fourth place finish in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) in her last outing. She won the Ballston Spa (G2) two back, upsetting Lady Eli in her comeback race.

The Mark Hennig trainee is using this race as a springboard to shipping to Southern California. Not for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) but for the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar on Dec. 3.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my seven strongest plays from Belmont Park and Keeneland.

Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:


Belmont Park Race 7 The English Channel (Post time 4:13 ET)

#5 Catapult   8-1

#1 Giant Run   5-1

#3 Isotherm   3-1

#4 Strike Midnight   7-2

Analysis: Catapult is coming off a sharp win against Alw-1 optional claimers in a race taken off the turf and makes his second start against stakes company. The colt was a god looking maiden winner in his debut here last October and Brown thought enough of him to try him in the Transylvania (G3) despite coming back off a 5 1/2 month break and he checked in fifth as the beaten favorite. He was then the beaten favorite in a highly graded Alw-1 optional claimer at the Spa. He returns here off a two-month break for a barn that hits at a 28% clip (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 46-90 day break. I don’t think we have seen the best out of this guy yet.

Giant Run saved ground early, came with a four wide bid and finished gamely to win the Centaur last out over the turf at Indiana Grand, his third stakes win in his last six starts. He won the manila over the turf here in July. He draws the rail here but has shown good tactical speed in his previous starts and can be right up front or can sit off the pace.

Isotherm was a good second last out in the Commonwealth Derby (G2) last out at Laurel Park, beaten a length for the top spot. He won the Pilgrim (G3) here last fall in his first start against winners and also missed winning the Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park in January by just a head. He earned a career top two back in a good third in the Saranac (G3) where he was beaten just a length. The runner up Camelot Kitten came back to win the Hill Prince (G3) in his next outing on Oct. 8. He gets a jock upgrade to Johnny V. and fits with his best.


WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.

EX: 1,5 / 1,3,4,5

TRI: 1,5 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,9


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