Coach Jack Sisterson aims to keep the presentation “in-house” for the $ 1 million Calumet Turf Cup Stakes (G2T) at Kentucky Downs September 11th.
As a private trainer for Calumet Farm, Sisterston has a top contender for Saturday’s 1 1/2 mile run with the Calumet homebred Channel Cat . The 6-year-old is one of three registered North American freshman winners, joining other millionaires Arklow and Zulu Alpha .
Channel Cat, winner of the Man o ‘War Stakes (G1T) in May, is the 9-2 second favorite on the morning line behind 3-1 Arklow, who scored in the race in 2018 and 2020. Zulu Alpha, the winner 2019 but not placed in two starts this year, it’s 6-1.
“It’s humbling to be associated with a farm like Calumet and even to have a presence in the race and hopefully represent it in a good way,” said Sisterson. “We’re excited for Saturday. I think we’re going with a legitimate chance. I’m sure I’ll dream Friday night that a farm representative presents me with a trophy, that sort of thing.”
This year the winner will take home an additional prize: an automatic place in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) at Del Mar November 6. The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series this year.
Although Channel Cat is not a former Turf Cup winner like Arklow and Zulu Alpha, he is a local stakes winner, having won the Derby Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds at the age of 3 in 2018 when he was coached. by Todd Pletcher.
Sisterson began conditioning Channel Cat in 2020, a few years after Calumet provided him with the start of his coaching career. Prior to 2018, he had been one of Coach Doug O’Neill’s best assistants. While working with O’Neill he supervised the Reddam Racing team Nyquist when the foal trained at Keeneland leading to his triumph in the 2016 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (G1) to Churchill Downs. Keeneland is now Sisterson’s base.
In two other top performances this year in addition to his victory in the Man o ‘War, Channel Cat finished second in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) at Keeneland in the spring and most recently was finished fourth in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2T ) To Saratoga Racecourse July 31.
Channel Cat is a son of English channel , the largest grass bull in North America that can be found on Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm. Kelley was previously the owner of Kentucky Downs, located in the town of Franklin, Kentucky, where he grew up.
While Channel Cat has shown more speed this year under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, Arklow has shown less.
After winning the Louisville Stakes (G3T) in his seasonal debut, Arklow has been slow on the heels of the United Nations Stakes (G1T) and the Del Mar Handicap presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2T) this summer. He ran a tough sixth place at the UN on July 17, beaten 5 3/4 lengths, then finished seventh, 1 3/4 lengths back, in the Del Mar handicap on August 21.
The 7 year old son of Camber , who races for Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and the estate of Peter Coneway and is coached by Brad Cox, won the 2019 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) in the highest level victory of his career.
Zulu Alpha’s most prestigious victory came the following year when he won the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes presented by Runhappy (G1T) at Gulfstream Park for owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker. Returning from an injury this summer, he first ran fifth in the Arlington Stakes (G3T) and then seventh in the Mr. D. Stakes (G1T), both at Arlington International Racecourse.
Zulu Alpha is one of the five Maker entries in the main body of the domain, the others being Sea tide , Bluegrass walk , A journey to freedom , and Glynn County .
Maker is a four-time Turf Cup winner, having won the race with Da big hoss (2015-16), Oscar nominee (2017) and Zulu Alpha.
Entries: Calumet Turf Cup S. (G2T)
Kentucky Downs, Saturday September 11, 2021, race 9
- Grade IIT
- 1 1 / 2m
- $ 1,000,000
- 3 years and over
- 4:44 p.m. (local)