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Ontario-bred Channel Maker to run in Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational

Jockey Javier Castellano will have his hands full Saturday in the inaugural US$7-million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.

Jockey Javier Castellano will have his hands full Saturday in the inaugural US$7-million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.

Castellano will ride Ontario-bred Channel Maker, a five-year-old gelding, in the 1 3/16-mile race — the world's richest turf event — at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Channel Maker will break from the No. 3 post at early 12-1 odds outside of Yoshida, a five-year-old Japanese-bred that's the 5-2 race favourite.

Not only is the field a tough one — nine of the 10 horses entered are stakes winners — but trainer Bill Mott said Channel Maker is a complicated animal.

"He's not really an easy horse to ride because he wants to get his head up in the air a little bit," said Mott, who's also Yoshida's trainer. "He's a horse that does not want you to grasp him too tight early and he doesn't want you to send him too hard."

It will be Channel Maker's first race this year. He ran eight times in 2018, winning twice before finishing 11th in the Breeders Cup' turf.

A multiple stakes winner, Channel Maker has finished in the money 11 times (4-4-3) in 21 career starts and earned more than $1.09 million. The son of English Channel broke his maiden in a stakes event at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack in the second start of his juvenile season.

In 2017, Channel Maker won the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, before taking second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby behind Mo Town.

The World Cup field also includes Delta Prince, a six-year-old owned by Stronach Stables. The American-bred (15-1 odds, post 8) is trained by James Jerkens, who captured the 2017 Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate with filly Holy Helena. Frankie Dettori will be aboard.

Delta Prince has finished in the money in 10 of his 11 career starts (four wins, three second, three third). The only exception was a fourth-place finish in last year's Woodbine Mile.

Delta Prince won the 2018 Grade 2 King Edward turf race at Woodbine and was second by a neck in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga, both mile-long races.

"We're taking a little bit of a shot," Jerkens said. "He's running further than he ever has in his life, but he's bred to go the route.

"The other day I gave him a nice, easy mile around two turns just to see and make sure he didn't turn the other way and get a little bit on the rank side because of it, and he didn't. He rated like a baby and he finished up nice so I was really happy with it."

Canadian-bred Something Awesome will be in the 12-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile US$9-million Pegasus World Cup dirt event. The eight-year-old gelding, owned by Stronach Stables, goes from the No. 2 post as a 20-1 pick.

The Jose Corrales-trained horse has nine wins from 26 career starts with earnings over $1-million. Something Awesome ran six times last year (3-1-1) and earned more than $900,000. Edgar Prado will be aboard Saturday.

Seeking the Soul, an American-bred horse owned by Edmonton native Charles Fipke, will go from the No. 4 post at 12-1 odds for jockey John Velazquez. The-six-year-old has won six times in 23 career starts and earned more than $1.7 million.

Seeking the Soul was second in the '18 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and fifth in last year's Pegasus.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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