GEORGETOWN, KY – Oct. 17, 2023 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky., is pleased to announce that multiple stakes winner, Spooky Channel, arrived at the farm on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023 to enjoy his retirement.
The chestnut gelding comes to Old Friends courtesy of his owners, NBS Stables.
“We are grateful to John Ballantyne and his partners for allowing us to care for this marvelous veteran,” said Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “He earned every moment of what we hope will be a long and enjoyable retirement.”
Bred by Calumet Farm, Spooky Channel, who is by English Channel–Spooky Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy, was foaled on March 28, 2015 in Kentucky.
During his 5-year racing career, the chestnut gelding had several trainers and owners.
Spooky Channel began his career under the care of trainer Clay Brinson and owner Terry Hamilton as a 3-year old in 2018 at Turf Paradise, and won his first race in his second start, a maiden optional claiming race, at Turf Paradise.
In 2019 as a 4-year old, he opened the year with five straight wins, all at Turf Paradise. Along with two allowances races, he won The Turf Paradise Handicap, the Wildcat Handicap, and the Hasta La Vista Handicap.
In 2020 as a 5-year old, under the same owner, and new trainer Brian Lynch, he won the W. L. McKnight Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park for his first graded-stakes win.
As a 6-year old in 2021, he won the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (G3). Then, following a second in an allowance optional claiming race in April 2021, he was claimed by trainer Jason Barkley and the owners of NBS Stable, Art Neuhedel, John A. Ballantyne, and Daryl E. Shaw, for $80,000. This team would care for the horse the rest of his racing career.
According to Barkley, Spooky Channel’s name fit him perfectly. “He came by his name honestly,” Barkley noted in a BloodHorse.com article. “He does spook at just about everything, even at his old age.”
Under the care of his new trainer and owners, Spooky Channel went on a three-race win streak that carried over into the next year. The streak began with a win in the Remington Green Stakes (Black Type) at Remington Park, followed by a win in the Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, which was the first stakes win for Barkley.
Spooky Channel then had a 14-month layoff due to an injury, then triumphantly returned in 2022 as a 6-year old and won the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes (Listed) at Fair Grounds to complete the three-race wins streak.
He returned to the track in 2023 as a 7-year old and raced four times with one win in the Muniz Memorial Classic S. Presented by Horse Racing Nation (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Then, following a second in the FanDuel Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G2) on Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs, the plan was to prepare him for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. However, he was retired due to an injury and finished with a record of 13 wins, six seconds, one third, and $1,380,142 in earnings in 31 career starts.
Spooky Channel was then sent to a farm in Shelbyville, Ky., to rest and recuperate from his injury before being sent to Old Friends for his well-deserved retirement.
In addition to Spooky Channel, another one of NBS Stables’, and trainer Jason Barkley’s horses arrived today to Old Friends, Setna The Wise.
Bred in Kentucky by F. Thomas Conway, Setna The Wise, who is by Cairo Prince–Smart ‘n Special, by Smart Strike, was foaled on April 12, 2019. The beautiful gray 4-year old raced eight times and had one win, one second, one third, and $72,630 in earnings before being retired. His one win came in his very first start, a maiden special weight race on March 3, 2022, at Fair Grounds.