Sisterson Prepares Channel Cat, Lexitonian For Saratoga Starts

Trainer Jack Sisterson will see a trio of Calumet Farm-owned stakes contenders look to make an impact at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the next two weeks, with Tango Tango Tango, Channel Cat, and Lexitonian each slated for respective graded stakes contests through August 7.

This coming Saturday will see Channel Cat look to win the $250,000 Grade 2 Bowling Green for the second time in three editions after his 2019 victory in the 1 3/8-mile turf contest for 4-year-olds and up.

The now 6-year-old son of English Channel ran second in the 1 1/2-mile Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 17 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., before returning three weeks later to edge Gufo by a nose in a thrilling finish to win the Grade 1 Man o’ War on May 8 at Belmont Park going 1 1/8 miles. That marked Channel Cat’s first win since Sisterson took over the training duties – and his first victory in 10 starts overall – with his first winner’s circle trip since the 2019 Bowling Green.

Buoyed by the Man o’ War effort in which he earned a 98 Beyer, Sisterson ran Channel Cat back on Belmont Stakes Day June 5 in the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Manhattan, where he tired and finished seventh. The Chad Brown-trained duo of Domestic Spending and Tribhuvan comprised the Manhattan exacta, with Tribhuvan going on to win the Grade 1 United Nations next out at Monmouth Park.

Sisterson said the extra rest for Channel Cat could put him in a good position to succeed on Saturday.

“I ran him back in three weeks after the Elkhorn because he was doing so well. I probably should have skipped the Manhattan because he had a tough race in the Man o’ War, but we gave him a little break now prior to the Bowling Green,” Sisterson said. “It was good to see Chad Brown’s horse come back and win the United Nations so the form held up well. Channel Cat should run a good race next week.”

Lexitonian ran second in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day May 1, finishing a head back to Flagstaff, before encountering a troubled trip in a sixth-place Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap effort on Belmont Stakes Day the next month going one turn on Big Sandy. Lexitonian will cut back to six furlongs this Saturday in the $350,000 Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.

“He’s 110 percent ready to go. It’s all about which Lexitonian shows up,” Sisterson said with a laugh. “He’s run races that can compete with anyone and then he throws in a clunker now and then. I think a mile is his best distance, so we’re cutting him back a little, but if he runs his best race, he’ll be right there at the wire. He’s shown us training-wise that he’s going into next week’s race in great shape.”

Lexitonian’s previous race at Saratoga was a fifth-place finish in last year’s Grade 1 Forego at seven furlongs over a sloppy track. The 5-year-old son of Speightstown will have jockey Jose Lezcano back in the irons.

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Tango Tango Tango, who won his stakes debut last out in the 1 1/16-mile American Derby on July 17 at Arlington Park, could now target the $1 million Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 7, which marks the second leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series for 3-year-olds.

Sisterson said the Tourist colt could also return to Arlington to run in the $600,000 Grade 1 Bruce D – a race formerly knowns as the Secretariat – on August 14.

Tango Tango Tango, unraced as a juvenile, started his career running third in a race moved off the turf in April at Keeneland. After running sixth on the Churchill Downs main track on May 23, Sisterson put him on the turf for the first time on June 27 at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., where he ran second in the 1 1/16-mile contest. For his stakes debut last out, Sisterson added blinkers, and the equipment change netted a personal-best 86 Beyer as he won by two lengths.

“The addition of blinkers really helped him out, as well as putting him on the grass. We thought he’d break his maiden the first time on the grass at Ellis but we ran into a good horse of [trainer] Michael McCarthy [There Goes Harvard]. We thought the blinkers would put him over the edge. It was a 3-year-old stakes, so we figured ‘why not take a shot?’ He was doing well, and it worked out in his favor.

“He’s moved forward in the right direction and we’ll obviously keep the blinkers on him. It seemed to be the missing link for him,” he added.

The post Sisterson Prepares Channel Cat, Lexitonian For Saratoga Starts appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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