Pegasus World Cup Turf Profile: Channel Cat

By Ed McNamara

Channel Cat – Photo courtesy of NYRA

This is the first of several profiles for contenders in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, the 1 3/16th-mile a co-feature with the $3 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park.

There are 12 horses on the main invitee list, and four more on the reserved invitee list. The maximum field is 12. Post position will be drawn Jan. 22.

Channel Cat is one of those turf marathoners you always must consider betting but who doesn’t inspire much confidence. He’s 0-for-5 at the Grade I level, including an uncompetitive seventh in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

For the past two years I’ve considered him one of “the usual suspects” in long-distance grass stakes, along with Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Henley’s Joy, Hunter O’Riley and Zulu Alpha. None stands out, and if you can project the pace scenario and who is likely to get the best trip, you may isolate the winner, usually at a nice price.

Channel Cat prepped for the World Cup Turf last month with a third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Fort Lauderdale on the grass. His only win in eight starts last year was a front-running upset in the 1 3/8-mile, Grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 20-5-2-5

Career earnings: $913,992

Pedigree: English Channel-Carnival Kitten (Kitten’s Joy)

Age: 5

Running style: Speed/Stalker

Handicapping insights:

“Seven losses in his last eight starts and a four-race losing streak don’t inspire confidence. Channel Cat is much more likely to be third or fourth than to win.’’ — Ed McNamara

“Keeps good company but falls short falls short against top-caliber competition and lacks consistency … lost local prep (Fort Lauderdale) when beaten by Instilled Regard.’’ – Noel Michaels

Notes: Pletcher’s take: “He’s run against the best horses on the East Coast all year and has certainly shown that on his day, he fits with the best of them.” … You may be surprised to hear that future Hall of Famer Pletcher won only two Grade 1 stakes last year, neither on the turf. (Vino Rosso won the BC Classic and the Santa Anita Gold Cup).

 Pegasus World Cup Turf 2020 Contenders (Invitees)
Horse Owner Trainer
Admission Office Amerman Racing Brian Lynch
Arklow Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, Peter Coneway Brad Cox
Channel Cat Calumet Farm Todd Pletcher
Henley’s Joy Bloom Racing Stable Michael Maker
Instilled Regard OXO Equine Chad Brown
Magic Wand Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier Aidan O’Brien
Next Shares Debby Baltas, Richard Baltas, Christopher Dunn,
Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan,
Ritchie Robershaw, Mark Taylor
Richard Baltas
Sacred Life Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, Bethlehem Stables Chad Brown
Sadler’s Joy Woodslane Farm Tom Albertrani
Without Parole John D. Gunther, Tanya Gunther Chad Brown
Zulu Alpha Michael Hui Michael Maker


Reserve Invitees in Order of Preference
Horse Owner Trainer
American Tattoo Calumet Farm, John Anthony Stables Todd Pletcher
Mr. Misunderstood Flurry Racing Stables Brad Cox
Synchrony Pin Oak Stable Michael Stidham
Tusk Jordan V. Wycoff Saffie Joseph, Jr.

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