When trainer Jason Barkley claimed Spooky Channel for $80,000 back in April, what he was getting was a confirmed Grade 3-quality turf marathoner, on his best day.
Friday was one of those days, as the six-year-gelding upset Grade 1 winner Two Emmys in the $150,000 Sycamore S. (G3) at Keeneland, thus providing Barkley with the first graded stakes winner of his young career.
Under Julien Leparoux, Spooky Channel sat a perfect pocket trip in third as Two Emmys carved out a mild tempo of :24.87, :49.51, 1:14.52, 1:39.81, and 2:05.57 in the 1 1/2-mile test. Eased out to the two path for the stretch run, Spooky Channel outstayed Two Emmys, the last-out winner of the 1 1/4-mile Mr. D. (G1) at Arlington over division stalwart Domestic Spending, by a neck.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Barkley said. “As an assistant (trainer) we were out a few times, but when you do it yourself, it’s great.
“Horses will take you places. It’s all him. He’s all heart. He’s a cool horse. I’m just happy to have him.”
Owned by NBS Stable, Spooky Channel covered the course in 2:29.71 on good ground and paid $16.40. Two Emmys finished 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Ry’s the Guy, who was followed by Bama Breeze, Another Mystery, Sole Volante, Kentucky Ghost, Ajourneytofreedom, 2-1 favorite Glynn County, Yamato, and Breakpoint.
A three-time minor stakes winner at Turf Paradise in 2019, Spooky Channel made his first splash at the major tracks in the W.L. McKnight (G3) at Gulfstream in January 2020, upsetting that 1 1/2-mile test at 36-1. A year later, this past Jan. 31, the chestnut recorded his second graded win, this time as a 3-2 favorite, in the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) at Sam Houston, also over 12 furlongs.
Following the April 30 claim at Churchill Downs, Spooky Channel went unplaced twice and second once prior to taking the nine-furlong Remington Green S. in his most recent start on Sept. 26. His record now stands at 25-11-4-0, $601,722.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Spooky Channel is by English Channel and out of the multiple stakes-placed Spooky Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy.