Old Friends Welcomes Graded-Stakes Winning Millionaire Channel Maker

The 9-year old gelding comes to the farm courtesy of Adam Wachtel and his ownership group.

GEORGETOWN, KY – Nov. 15, 2023 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky., is pleased to announce the arrival of graded-stakes winning millionaire, Channel Maker, on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The 9-year old award-winning chestnut gelding was donated to the farm by Adam Wachtel and his ownership group.

Bred by Tall Oaks Farm, Channel Maker, who is by English Channel–In Return, by Horse Chestnut (Saf), was foaled in Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 11, 2014.

Originally trained by Daniel Vella, and owned by Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Channel Maker began his career as a 2-year old in 2016 and in his first start finished third in a maiden special weight race at Woodbine on July 24. He earned his first win, and first stakes victory, in his second start in the Vandal Stakes (Black Type) at Woodbine.

Channel Maker finished 2016 with a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.

He began his 3-year old campaign with an eighth-place finish in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Following that race he was switched to a new trainer, Bill Mott, and under his care, his best finish in 2017 was a win in the Breeders’ Stakes (Black Type) at Woodbine.

Following the 2017 racing season, Channel Maker was named the Sovereign Award winner as Champion Three-Year Old Colt.

He opened his 4-year old season in 2018, with a new group of owners, Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable, and Gary Barber, however, after his fifth race, the owners group consisted of only Wachtel Stable and Barber.

His best finish in 2018 was a win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, which was his first graded-stakes victory.

Still under Mott’s care, Channel Maker closed out the year with an 11th in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs, and under his final ownership group, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing.

In 2019 as a 5-year old, Channel Maker captured the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park; and then in 2020 as a 6-year old, he won the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. In his final race of that year, Channel Maker finished third in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland, his best finish in the six Breeders’ Cup races he ran in during his career.

For his efforts in 2020, he won the Eclipse Award as Champion Turf Male.

In 2022 as an 8-year old, Channel Maker continued his winning ways, as he had victories in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and the Grand Couturier Stakes (Black Type) at Belmont Park.

He returned to the track in 2023 as a 9-year old and in his fifth race of the season won the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. Two races later on Oct. 13, he finished 11th in the Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland and was retired the next day.

Channel Maker closed out his career with a record of 10 wins, six seconds, five thirds, and $3,915,985 in earnings in 56 starts.

It should also be noted that, including the Breeders’ Cup races previously mentioned, he participated in three other Breeders’ Cup races: he finished 12th in the 2019 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita; fifth in the 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar; and seventh in the 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland.

Following his racing career, Adam Wachtel of Wachtel Stable initiated the idea of retiring Channel Maker to Old Friends, and the horse’s ownership group, which also consists of Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable, and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, agreed.

“He’s given us so many thrills,” Wachtel said in a recent BloodHorse article. “I’ve been fortunate to own some pretty nice horses, but I think my partners and I can all agree on this — that Channel Maker’s been the horse of a lifetime.”

“I’ve idolized Channel Maker ever since I first laid eyes on him devouring the field in the 2020 Sword Dancer at Saratoga,” said Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “He arrived at Old Friends covered in dapples and in spectacular condition. Our deepest thanks to Adam and his partners, and to trainer Bill Mott, for allowing us to show him off to his legion of fans. We are honored.”

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