By Nicholas Godfrey
Belmont Park: Man o’War Stakes G1 $700,000 1m3f, turf, 4yo+
Channel Cat (Jack Sisterson/John Velazquez)
Irish Derby winner Sovereign flopped on his US debut for new trainer Chad Brown, finishing seventh of eight runners as the line came just in time for front-running Channel Cat.
Still representing the Coolmore partnership, former Aidan O’Brien-trained Sovereign – who won the Curragh Classic in 2019 – raced at the rear under Irad Ortiz before making up a bit of ground on the back straight without ever landing a blow.
Fanned wide into the stretch, the five-year-old had nothing left and was not involved as 8-1 chance Channel Cat carried the Calumet silks to victory, touching off late-running favourite Gufo (gave 6lb) to win Belmont’s first G1 of the year.
The winner, a six-year-old son of English Channel, was making his G1 breakthrough.
Shall we talk about it?
John Velazquez: “I didn’t think we went that fast – I knew we were going fast, but not quite 22 and change. I gave him loose reins and he was a happy horse up front. I was happy with the way that he was doing things. I felt [Gufo] coming when I was asking him to run.”
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