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English Channel Wins US Gr1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Multiple Gr1-winning 4YO entire English Channel (Smart Strike-Belva, by Theatrical) added his 3rd Gr1 triumph of the year with a 4.5-lengths blitz of his rivals in the US$600,000 Gr1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (12 furlongs on turf) at Belmont Park. Hot favourite English Channel (ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher) defeated UK-bred Freedonia (Selkirk-Forest Rain, by Caerleon) & German-bred Royal Highness (Monsun-Reem Dubai, by Nashwan). Already this season Kentucky-bred English Channel had won the Gr1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (9 furlongs) at Churchill Downs in May & Gr1 United Nations Handicap (11 furlongs) at Monmouth Park in July; overall he now boasts 9 wins (also including last year's Colonial Turf Cup & Gr3 Virginia Derby, plus 2005 runner-ups in both the Gr1 Secretariat Stakes & this same race) from 15 starts for US$2,379,028 earnings.