LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- English Channel, a rising star in the grass division, won the $454,900 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher is unbeaten in two starts this year, having captured the Canada Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park in his season debut.
English Channel, ridden by Garrett Gomez, improved his career mark to seven wins in 11 starts, all on the grass. He rallied between horses on the far turn and held off a late charge from 2-1 favorite Cacique to win by a half-length.
English Channel ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.15 and paid $9 to win. He earned his fourth stakes victory and first Grade 1 triumph.
Gomez, concerned when his horse was knocked around in the early stages, was "happy with the way he was doing things. I was very confident when I turned for home."
Owner Mike Pegram and trainer Bob Baffert, who teamed to win the 1998 Derby with Real Quiet, took the Grade 1, $291,000 Humana Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares as Pussycat Doll won by one length.
Behaving Badly, the 4-5 favorite also trained by Baffert, was second.
Pussycat Doll paid $10 and ran the seven furlongs in 1:21.62.
Mirabilis got her first U.S. victory in the Grade 3 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile.
The 4-year-old began her career in France before shifting to trainer Bobby Frankel, who did not have a Derby horse for the first time in five years. Mirabilis had two thirds in three prior U.S. starts.
Mirabilis charged to the front at the top of the lane and prevailed by a length over long shot Special Grayce.
Mirabilis, ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, was clocked in 1:35.93 and paid $12 to win.
Trickey Trevor scored a three-length win in the $229,000 Churchill Downs Handicap. Russell Baze was aboard the consistent 7-year-old who improved his lifetime record to 18 wins in 35 starts.
Making his first start since February in California, Trickey Trevor caught the pacesetting With Distinction at the top of the lane and pulled away to the decisive win in the Grade 2 stakes.
Trickey Trevor, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, ran the seven furlongs in 1:21.68 and paid $21 to win.
Joint Effort rallied for a 3¼-length victory in the Grade 3, $119,600 La Troienne Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Joint Effort improved her career record to 4-for-12 as she ran the 7½ furlongs in 1:28.18. Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Edgar Prado, Joint Effort paid $15.80 to win.