Hall of Fame jockey, John Velazquez, literally lifted Channel Cat 8-1, over the line by a tiny little nose, fending off Gufo (Joel Rosario 2-5), whose crazy late charge in the last few metres, made it a race to remember.
Channel Cat scooped the $700,000 Man o' War, restricted to 4-year-olds and up, going 1 3/8 miles on Belmont Park's inner turf. John led Medina Spirit in last week's Run for the Roses, then brought Malathaat through the Kentucky Oaks. He is in such demand, it is quite astonishing.
Channel Cat broke sharply, leading eight challengers, while Field Cat boldly attempted to catch him. Then Moon over Miami began his bid on the inside. It was indeed a lovely event to watch.
Clocking 2:13:3/10 for trainer, Jack Sisterson, Channel Cat debuted as a Grade Oner at Belmont. Next stop is the $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan June 5. Field Pass did not appear to like conditions, dissipating to the back.
Another nail-biter, French-bred Neige Blanche (Juan Hernandez 5-1), nipped Rideforthecause (Mario Gutierrez 3-1), by an even tinier nose, after a marathon 2,400m, in Santa Anita's Santa Barbara Stakes.
Neige Blanch, which translates into White Snow, stopped the timer in 2:28:1/10 for trainer Leonard Powell. Tapwater (Flavian Prat) and Star of Africa, were always in the mix. Maybe orders will be reversed on different days. They were that close.
River Nymph (Adam Kirby 5-1), gifted Clive Cox with his first Victoria Cup success. Bred by owner Trevor Fox, River Nymph was perfectly suited to strange underground conditions, managing to hold on by half-a-length from Eagleway 80-1.
Rossa Ryan hailed Albaflora 4-1 as one of the most exciting fillies he has ever sat on after her mind-blowing plump in the Buckhounds Stakes, over Tribal Craft 50-1. Go Bears Go also obliged for Rossa Ryan in the 1,000m Novice, setting Fall of Rome aside.