Calumet Farm’s Channel Cat, the durable Grade 1-winning millionaire homebred, continues to train forwardly as he prepares for his next and possibly final career start in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park.
Channel Cat, by late 2007 turf champion English Channel, has been working steadily since mid-December for trainer Jack Sisterson at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. The 7-year-old went an easy half-mile in :53 on Jan. 14 morning.
“You might think, ‘What’s going on here?’ but this (was) the plan because he went a quick half last week,” trainer Jack Sisterson said. “We’re just going to step back this week and then he’ll have probably a half in company next week and be ready to go.”
In his previous three works, the Channel Cat went four furlongs in :47.05 seconds Jan. 9, the fastest of 37 horses; :48.95 Jan. 2; and :48.90 Dec. 24, ranking first of 46 horses.
“His (Jan. 9) work was his first one in company. I was debating whether to keep him at a half or go five-eighths. He’s been doing enough at a half-mile; he’s only going to do too much going five-eighths,” Sisterson said. “The work was not as planned.
“We worked another horse, (Grade 2-placed) In Effect, and he sort of got a little bit keen outside of (Channel Cat). It was beautiful to see Channel Cat relax inside. He was always traveling well and had a ton of horse left. We don’t want to run his race in the morning. He’s had a lot of air left in the tank in his works.”
Channel Cat has run in the Pegasus Turf before, never getting in contention after being bumped at the start in 2019 and finishing 10th for his previous trainer, Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher. Last winter, Channel Cat ran on the Pegasus undercard in the 1 ½-mile W.L. McKnight (G3), finishing fifth.
Since joining Sisterson in mid-2020, Channel Cat has run eight times with one win, the Man o’War (G1) at Belmont Park last May. Most recently he was second by a neck in the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith (G2) Nov. 20 at Aqueduct.
Overall, Channel Cat owns six wins, four seconds and five thirds with $1,456,022 in purse earnings from 30 lifetime starts. He is 2-1-2 in 10 career tries over the Gulfstream turf, running second in his July 1, 2017 debut. His other graded win came in the 2019 Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga.
Channel Cat is set to join the Calumet Farm stallion roster for 2022 with an advertised fee of $7,500.
“He’s a cool horse. He came in great shape off Todd, and I just didn’t want to ruin what Todd had done with him, so I just didn’t get in his way,” Sisterson said. “He’s an older horse, he knows his job, and he loves to get out there and train. If he’s not out there by 5:30, he shouts the barn down. If he’s not the first walk in the afternoon, again he shouts. We just try to keep him happy and not get in his way.”