02/09/2013 6:08PM

Gulfstream Park: Channel Lady proves uncatchable in Suwannee River

Barbara D. Livingston
Channel Lady, ridden by Javier Castellano, collects her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Suwannee River.

Channel Lady was intent on getting the early lead and was equally intent on never relinquishing it, taking Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park by three-quarters of length.

 Abaco, who brought a four-race winning streak into her stakes debut, won a three-way photo for second, nosing out Inglorious, who got third by a neck over Kya One.

 Hard Not to Like, the 5-2 favorite off a win over Channel Lady in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River last out, finished fifth, followed by Romacaca and Affair Dabbler.

 The win was the fourth from seven starts for Channel Lady, owned by James Scatuorchio and Jake Pletcher and trained by Todd Pletcher. It was the first graded stakes victory for Channel Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of 2007 turf champion English Channel also campaigned by Scatuorchio and trained by Pletcher.

 Under Javier Castellano, Channel Lady outsprinted Hard Not to Like and Romacaca to the lead entering the first turn. Channel Lady maintained a measured length lead over Romacaca through a quarter of 25.13 seconds, a half-mile in 50.21 seconds, and six furlongs in 1:14.42.

 Approaching the top of the stretch, Castellano asked Channel Lady to spurt away and she was never seriously threatened in the stretch.

 “She’s been a very good, reliable filly for us from the start,” Pletcher said. “We think she might be best settling in behind the pace, but when we looked at this race there didn’t look like there was much speed in there. As it turned out there was no pace and Javier did the right thing to let her go ahead to the front.”

 Channel Lady covered the 1 1/8 miles over firm turf in 1:48.82 and returned $9.60 to win as the third choice in the field of seven.

 Pletcher said he would look to run Channel Lady back in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap at Gulfstream on March 16, but did not rule out stretching Channel Lady out in distance down the road.

 “English Channel was so good at a mile-and-half that I think she’ll go longer when we ask her,” Pletcher said. “Right now we still have the Honey Fox turning back to a mile here and we’ll seriously consider that.”