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Acorn Solid Contender in Adequan Derby Challenge Championship

November 17, 2010

Trainer Janet VanBebber has won three Bank of America Challenge Championships with Tailor Fit, Streakin Sin Tacha and Panther Mountain. Now based in Vinton, Louisiana, she hopes to continue that success with Acorn in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1).

The Texas-bred son of 2004 world champion Oak Tree Special is the 3-1 second choice in the 400-yard stakes, which will be run on Friday evening at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. He has won four of his five starts this year and qualified for the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship on July 21 at Sam Houston Race Park. He followed that with a victory in the Sam Houston Classic (G2) and an impressive win in the Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge on August 28. His lone defeat this year came in the finals of the Dash for Cash Derby (G2) at Lone Star Park last month, but VanBebber feels Acorn will return to his winning ways in Friday’s 11th race.

“He looks super; on his toes,” said VanBebber from Evangeline Downs on Wednesday morning. He’s freshened up from his two starts at Lone Star.”

Regular rider Alfonso Lujan will ride Acorn, who drew the far outside post. VanBebber continues to be appreciative of owner breeder Rose Mary Chandler, from Luling, Texas, just south of Austin.

"Rose Mary has been great,” acknowledges VanBebber. “She has been very supportive of my advice and direction in regards to Acorn. I really appreciate any owner who places the needs of the horse first and foremost.”

Chandler and her husband, Wendell, have bred and owned American Quarter Horses for 30 years. Acorn is just their second Challenge finalist; Ima Special Type competed at Turf Paradise in the 1996 Professional’s Choice Claiming Challenge Championship.

“We are thrilled to be running in the Adequan Derby this year,” said Chandler. “Acorn has done everything perfectly this year for us. He snoozed a little in the gates in the Dash for Cash, but these things happen.”
Win or lose, Chandler will be proud of her homebred and appreciative of the run he has had this year under VanBebber.

“As owners, we have a choice when it comes to trainers,” said Chandler. “We are very pleased with Janet. I have watched her prepare horses for a race and feel that she has a calming and gifted way with her animals.”

The Derby Challenge Championship is sponsored by Adequan, the official equine joint therapy manufacturer of AQHA. The race is the 11th race on the 13-race card at Fair Grounds with an approximate post time of 9:20 p.m. Central time.

The Bank of America Challenge Championships will be featured for the first time on Horse Racing TV and available to the channel’s 17 million subscribers, as well as free to view on AQHA’s Q-Racing Video. During the “free weekend,” nonsubscribers will be asked for a valid e-mail address to access the site. Q-Racing Video will be free and open to the world from 8 a.m. Friday, November 19, through the evening of Sunday, November 21. BY MARTHA CLAUSSEN