08/14/2016 5:05PM

Channel Maker shrugs off challengers, wins Vandal Stakes

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Michael Burns
Channel Maker wins the Vandal Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Channel Maker ($10.70) graduated in style on Sunday at Woodbine, winning the $151,800 Vandal Stakes in front-running fashion under Luis Contreras.

Channel Maker shrugged off several early challenges in the 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds. He opened up a clear lead in the stretch, and never looked back to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths over first-time starter Malibu Secret, the co-favorite at 3-1 in the 10-horse field of Ontario-breds.

Woodbridge ran greenly to finish third by a nose over Silent Flash, and then survived an inquiry to remain in that position.

Over yielding ground, the final time was 1:17.50.

Channel Maker is trained by Danny Vella, who’s had success with other sons of English Channel. He won today’s sixth race with English Illusion, and the 2012 Queen’s Plate with Strait of Dover.

“He’s a big, strong horse, and these English Channels tend to have their own mind,” Vella said. “The (pre-race) discussion was to let him run his own race. Luis has great hands, and understands his horses. That’s why he wins all those races. He did the right thing, and obviously, it worked. This guy has come to hand very quickly.”

Channel Maker banked $90,000 for Joey Gee Thoroughbreds.

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