Mott plots next move with Channel Maker

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Bill Mott says Channel Marker could go to Belmont next after his win in the Sword Dancer.

Bill Mott will aim to find some soft ground for Channel Maker following an impressive demolition of his rivals in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

Appearing in the race for the third time in his career, Channel Maker took up the running upon leaving the starting gates and never threatened to surrender his advantage.

He came home with close to six-lengths in hand on his rivals, finally winning the Sword Dancer after finishing second and fourth in the previous two instalments of the race.

It was the third Grade 1 win of Channel Maker’s 35-race career and he has now picked up just shy of $2.5m in earnings for his connections.

“He does appreciate the soft ground, without a doubt,” said Mott, reflecting back on the race. “He gets over it pretty well, but it might help him more than some of the others.”

Hall of Fame trainer Mott had previously won the Sword Dancer with Theatrical (1987), Fraise (1992) and Broadway Flyer (1996) prior to Channel Maker’s impressive success.

Familiar paths are the order for Channel Maker. Having won the Sword Dancer at the third attempt, another tilt at Belmont’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic is in the offing.

He won the Grade 1 in 2018 with a similar all-the-way display to Saturday’s Saratoga run and, last year, he was second behind the Brad Cox-trained Arklow.

Mott is plotting another run in that race, giving Channel Maker a second opportunity to emulate April Run (1981, 1982), Val’s Prince (1997, 1999) and English Channel (2006, 2007) as repeat winners.

Having earned an entry into the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland in November with his Sword Dancer success, getting a shot at matching the feat of his sire English Channel appeals.

“Naturally, that would make the most sense to run him there, and he won a berth into the Breeders’ Cup,” Mott said.

The trainer acknowledges that Channel Maker doesn’t have the consistency to bring his A-game every time he runs but, when conditions are ideal and he’s on his, the veteran is hard to stop.

“He gives you something,” Mott said. “Sometimes he doesn’t get the right set of circumstances, but you could say that about most other horses. When he gets the right circumstances, he’s tough.”

Channel Maker has twice finished down the field in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in his two attempts thus far, finishing 11th and 12th respectively in races won by Enable (2018) and Bricks And Mortar (2019).