Channel Lady wins Suwannee River


Channel Lady made every call a winning won as she cruised to victory in wire-to-wire fashion in the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes for older fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Feb. 9.

Channel Lady didn't come close to the track record for the nine furlongs, which was set by her sire,English Channel , who ran the distance in 1:44.51. Channel Lady hit the wire in 1:48.82, just fast enough to hold off the closing Abaco by three quarters of a length. Inglorious was a nose further back in third.

Channel Lady has now won four of seven starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, who trains the 4 year old for his father, J.J. Pletcher, and James Scatuorchio. The $90,000 first prize increased Channel Lady's bankroll to $258,605. Out of the King of Kings mare Queen Supreme, Channel Lady was bred in Kentucky by Kaygar Stable, Wayne Morris, and Bluegrass Hall.

"She's been a very good, reliable filly for us from the start," said the winning trainer. "We think she might be best settling in behind the pace, but when we looked at this race there didn't look like there was much speed in there. As it turned out there was no pace and Javier [Castellano] did the right thing to let her go ahead to the front. English Channel [Scatuorchio-owned sire] was so good at a mile-and-half that I think she'll go longer when we ask her. Right now we still have the Honey Fox [March 16] turning back to a mile here and we'll seriously consider that."

A $25,000 weanling purchase at Keeneland's Nov. mixed sale in 2009, Channel Lady had previously won the Stardust Stakes at Aqueduct last November. Her first try in graded stakes company resulted in a good second in the Marshuas River Stakes at Gulfstream last month.

Sent off at odds of 7/2, Channel Lady went to the front and the inside under Javier Castellano and held at least a one length lead over Romacaca through tepid early fractions of :25.13 and :50.21. Abaco and Inglorious rallied from the back of the seven-horse field, but the slow pace did them in as Channel Lady closed in :11.20 to hit the wire first. FavoriteHard Not to Likefinished fifth, trailing Kya Oneby a neck. Romacaca and Affair Dabblercompleted the order of finish.

Leading Astray and My Pal Chrisy were scratched.

Channel Lady returned $9.60, $4.80, and $3.20. Abaco paid $4.80 and $3.00 while Inglorious returned $4.20. The $2 exacta was good for $51.20.