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Spooky Channel Retired; Will Join Old Friends

Multiple graded stakes winner Spooky Channel , who had been aimed toward a start in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) at Santa Anita Park, will miss the race due to injury and has been retired, trainer Jason Barkley said Oct. 10. Currently at a farm in Shelbyville, Ky., he will eventually retire to Old Friends, a Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., Barkley added.

Spooky Channel last raced Sept. 9, finishing second in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G2T) at Kentucky Downs. Subsequent evaluation at a clinic in Kentucky revealed a suspensory injury to the 8-year-old English Channel gelding’s left front leg.

He had “some little changes in there. No major tears, no lesions or stuff that’ll keep him from living out a good, happy life,” Barkley said.

Barkley, who announced the retirement Tuesday on the social media platform X, said owner John Valentine of NBS Stable is a “big advocate” for Old Friends, and it worked out to send Spooky Channel there.

“He’s just not a horse that I think could do a whole lot else—not from the soundness side of things, just mentally. He came by his name honestly. He does spook at just about everything, even at his old age,” Barkley said.

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Spooky Channel, claimed for $80,000 in April 2021, provided Barkley with his first stakes victory when he took the 2021 Sycamore Stakes (G3T) at Keeneland. Barkley later brought the gelding back from a tendon injury to win a stakes race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots after a 14-month layoff.

Bred by Calumet Farm out of the Kitten’s Joy mare Spooky Kitten , Spooky Channel retires with a 13-6-1 record in 31 starts and earnings of $1,380,142. Before his success with Barkley, Brian Lynch trained Spooky Channel for owner Terry Hamilton to win the 2021 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3T) at Sam Houston Race Park in early 2021, among other races. As a yearling in 2016, Alistair Roden Bloodstock bought him for Hamilton for $10,000 at The October Sale at Fasig-Tipton from the Paramount Sales consignment.

As for Barkley, like Spooky Channel, he has started a new chapter in his life, leaving behind training to book mounts for jockey Alonso Quinonez, currently at Keeneland and ultimately during the winter at Tampa Bay Downs. He also plans to do bloodstock and racing management work. He had already begun downsizing his stable when Spooky Channel was sidelined.


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