06/20/2013 4:33PM

Colonial Downs: Channel Lady gets class relief in All Along Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Channel Lady (right) won the Suwanee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February and will look for another Grade 3 win in Saturday's All Along Stakes.

Stephanie’s Kitten, Centre Court, Hungry Island, Daisy Devine – Channel Lady has faced the best female grass horses stationed east of the Mississippi this year, and the class relief provided by a trip to Virginia should make her formidable in the Grade 3, $100,000 All Along Stakes on Saturday night at Colonial Downs.

Channel Lady, a 4-year-old English Channel filly trained by Todd Pletcher for Jake Pletcher and James Scatuorchio, is one of seven fillies and mares entered in the 1 1/8-mile All Along. None of her opponents can hold a candle to the aforementioned list of turf stars with whom Channel Lady has done battle this year, and Channel Lady held her own against the top-level competition.

She finished fourth with a wide trip in Centre Court’s win in the Honey Fox at Gulfstream and was fourth of eight in the Distaff Turf Mile on Derby Day at Churchill.

Channel Lady’s lone graded stakes score, in the Grade 3 Suwanee River, came at the nine-furlong distance of the All Along, and she figures to get a good trip under Javier Castellano while pressing the rail-drawn Welcome Dance.

Adjacent, a 7-year-old with only 10 career starts, makes her graded-stakes debut and figures to be placed near Channel Lady. Adjacent debuted with a promising second at Saratoga during the summer of 2009, but didn’t start again for more than a year, and her career regularly has been interrupted by layoffs.

“Last year at Keeneland, I thought I had everything going in the right direction, and then she entrapped” her epiglottis, trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Adjacent set the pace and held third May 1 in the 1 1/4-mile Owsley Stakes at Belmont, and she would have a good chance at a top-three finish in the All Along with a similar showing.

Embarr’s 3-for-3 record at Colonial has been compiled against lesser competition than she meets Saturday, but Appealing Cat merits consideration as an upset candidate, if for no other reason than Graham Motion trains her. Motion has won the All Along six times in the last 14 years, albeit with horses such as Film Maker, Shared Account, and Aruna, who were significantly superior to Appealing Cat.

The 4-year-old Appealing Cat, however, looks like a filly headed in the right direction, and a speed-favoring Pimlico turf course might have blunted her run when she finished third May 18 in the Gallorette Handicap.

Da Hoss: Action Andy seeks repeat

In the first stakes of the evening, the versatile Action Andy, accomplished both as a dirt sprinter and a turf miler, will try to win the $75,000 Da Hoss Stakes for the second year in a row. Action Andy is rail-drawn and certain to try for the lead at this distance, and his chances probably depend on how hard he is pressed by Disco Elvis, another stretchout sprinter.

Action Andy got away with a leisurely pace when he won the 2012 Da Hoss, and a quicker tempo would make him vulnerable to Hudson Steele and Hoofit. Hudson Steele hasn’t raced since last July, but he still was made the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Todd Pletcher and Castellano. Hudson Steele, a Grade 2 winner, has been working steadily at Saratoga for this comeback, and Pletcher is nearly a 29 percent winner with long-layoff returnees.

Hoofit, trained by Motion, has gone 20 months without a win, but could fall into a favorable trip under Edgar Prado and exits a sharp second-place finish in a Belmont Park turf-sprint stakes.