BigDaddy News

Horse Racing News

Champion Channel Maker Retired – BloodHorse

Fan favorite and 2020 champion turf male Channel Maker , beloved for his charismatic front-running style and plucky resilience, has retired at the ripe age of 9, according to part-owner Adam Wachtel of Wachtel Stable.

Channel Maker made his 56th and final start Oct. 13 at Keeneland in the Sycamore Stakes (G3T), where the gelding pressed the pace early before finishing 11th of 12. Following the effort, his ownership group, comprised of Wachtel, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, made the tough decision to retire their stable warrior.

“After the race, we all got together with (trainer) Bill (Mott) and just decided it was the right thing to do,” Wachtel said. “It’s not like he has any injuries or couldn’t go out there again and run a race next month. It just seemed like the right time.

“What horse competes at the highest level from ages 2 to 9 and still is able to win graded stakes races as an 8- and 9-year-old? I’m 61 and I’ve owned horses since I was 18 with my Dad and I’ve never seen anything like him. You always want to do right by your horses but especially a horse as special as Channel Maker, you want to do right by him.”

Wachtel said that going into the Sycamore, the partners had no designs on starting Channel Maker in what would be his record seventh Breeders’ Cup race. The gelding had already set the record for the most Breeders’ Cup starts by a single horse when competing in last year’s Turf (G1T), where he was seventh.

Sign up for

Channel Maker with Riley Mott<br>
at  Oct. 27, 2019 Santa Anita in Arcadia, CA.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Channel Maker with Riley Mott

at Santa Anita Park for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup

Channel Maker’s best finish in the World Championships came in 2020, where he was third behind two of Europe’s finest in Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe (G1) heroine Tarnawa  and multiple group 1 winner Magical . The gutsy gelding, the race leader until the final desperate yards before the wire, finished third by a length and a nose margin.

“Turning for home in the Breeders’ Cup we’re going ‘Oh my god is he actually going to do it?'” Wachtel recalled. “The day before I had just won the Juvenile Fillies (in partnership with Gary Barber and Swilcan Stable) with Vequist so it was looking like it might be the greatest weekend of horse racing in my career.

“But still how proud can you be of a horse like that to finish third behind two very tough European fillies that we were spotting weight to? Man, he came close and almost pulled it off.”

The year 2020 was a monumental one for Channel Maker and his team, as the flame-coated front-runner swept two prestigious grade 1 turf events in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1T) at Belmont Park on his way to being awarded the Eclipse Award as champion turf male.

Despite his four grade 1 wins, Wachtel felt Channel Maker’s upset score in this year’s Bowling Green Stakes (G2T) at Saratoga was one of the gelding’s most rewarding victories.

“The Bowling Green was one of the most favorite wins of my life,” Wachtel said. “Earlier this year we got a lot of criticism for keeping Channel Maker in training. We were still running him because our Hall of Fame trainer said ‘He’s doing fanastic’ and I went to the barn myself and would see him and Bill would say to me, ‘He looks like a 4-year-old not a 9-year-old doesn’t he?’

“And he did look incredible. He was all dappled out and eager to train. Here’s this great horse who’s been great for eight years now and look at him—he wins grade 2 races as an 8 and 9-year-old. And he won at Saratoga. I just thought that was extraordinary.”

Channel Maker with jockey Manuel Franco stands in the winner’s circle after winning the 65th running of The Bowling Green at the Saratoga Race Course Sunday, July 30, 2023 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Photo by Skip Dickstein
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Channel Maker with his connections in the winner’s circle for the Bowling Green Stakes

Bred in Canada by Tall Oaks Farm, the horse that failed to meet his $57,000 reserve as a yearling would eventually bankroll over $3.9 million. A son of the late English Channel, Channel Maker was produced from the Horse Chestnut mare In Return, who is also the dam of Channel Maker’s two-time grade 1-winning full sibling Johnny Bear.

Channel Maker, unmistakable on the track with his notoriously high head carriage (“He looks like a giraffe when he runs, doesn’t he?”—Wachtel), retires with a grand record of 10 wins from 56 starts. From ages 2 to 9, he captured 10 black-type stakes, including a Canadian Classic win as a 3-year-old in the 2017 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine, and placed in nine other stakes or graded stakes.

“He’s given us so many thrills,” Wachtel said. “I’ve been fortunate to own some pretty nice horses but I think my partners and I can all agree on this that Channel Maker’s been the horse of a lifetime.”

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID