Seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), Grade 2 winner Channel Cat will cut back to 1 1/8 miles for the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (G2). Gulfstream Park will offer five stakes on Saturday’s 11-race program and the Ft. Lauderdale is of two turf events along with the $100,000 My Charmer for fillies and mares.
Channel Cat captured the Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga and also placed in the Sword Dancer (G1) and United Nations (G1) this season. A four-year-old son of English Channel, the chestnut colt will go forth for a red-hot Todd Pletcher, who opened the current Gulfstream meet by winning six of his first 10 starts. John Velazquez picks up the mount.
Admission Office has been so close to earning a stakes win, missing by less than a length in the Dixie (G2), Wise Dan (G2) and November 16 River City H. (G3) at Churchill Downs most recently. The four-year-old colt will look to get over the hump for Brian Lynch and Jose Ortiz retains the assignment. Lynch will also send out longshot Spooky Channel.
Mike Maker has three entered. Sycamore (G3) winner Marzo will attempt to rebound from an unplaced finish in the November 23 Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct and adds a new rider in Ricardo Santana Jr. Former claimer Cross Border enters in good form, winning a November 17 allowance at Aqueduct, and Luis Saez has the call. Multiple stakes victor Exulting, third in a Churchill allowance last out, completes the trio.
Chad Brown always merits respect in turf stakes and the three-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer has a pair looking to make an impact going forward, Flavius and Instilled Regard. French stakes winner Flavius finished fourth when making his U.S. debut in a November 9 allowance at Aqueduct and the four-year-old will be making only his fifth career outing. Javier Castellano will be up. Instilled Regard, who exits the same allowance as his stablemate, offered a bold late rally to be a close third last time and keeps Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle.
Ten females are set for the My Charmer at a mile, and Mitchell Road figures to appreciate the class relief after an unplaced effort in the October 5 First Lady (G1) at Keeneland. The Bill Mott-trained filly reeled off a pair of stakes wins earlier this season, including the Gallorette (G3) on the Preakness undercard, and the front-running daughter of English Channel will get a new pilot in Jose Ortiz.
Her main rivals include Altea, who exits an allowance tally for Brown; Argentinean Group 2 winner Joy Nidera, who returns off a long layoff for Ignacio Correas; and stakes winner Hogans Holiday.