Stolis Winner Choice of Bank of America Racing Challenge Championship

November 16, 2010

Stolis Winner, on the verge of becoming American Quarter Horse racing's all-time leading earner, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on Friday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. The 4-year-old Stoli gelding, a homebred racing for Jerry Windham of College Station, Texas, must finish seventh or better to surpass Refrigerator's record $2,126,309. Stolis Winner has earned $2,048,037.

Post positions for the Challenge Championships, being held for the first time at Fair Grounds, were drawn during a brunch at Fair Grounds on November 16. The Challenge Championships are the season-ending championship event of AQHA's purse and bonus awards program.

Stolis Winner, the 2008 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse, is coming off a second-place finish to King Brimmerton in the B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap (RG3) on October 30 at Lone Star Park. The winner of 12 of 21 career races, Stolis Winner will break from post 3 in the 11-horse Challenge Championship and will be ridden for the first time by Jerrod Deschamp. G.R. Carter Jr., who had ridden Stolis Winner in his past 15 races, will be aboard Jess A Runner in the Challenge Championship.

“The horse seemed to be having some bad racing luck,” Taylor said about Stolis Winner, who had several troubled starts in recent races. “We're attempting to see if we can can shake things up.”

The field for the Challenge Championship also includes Double Bar S Ranch LLC's Jess You And I, the champion aged horse in 2008 who has earned $1,569,471 in his career while winning 15 of 28 races. The 6-year-old Feature Mr Jess gelding is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line and will break from post 9.

Many of the horsemen competing in the Challenge Championships have never raced at Fair Grounds, but one essential fact about American Quarter Horse racing is certain.

“If you don't leave, you're in trouble,” said Toby Keeton, who trains Jess You And I. “There all good horses in here, or they wouldn't be here. Probably any horse can win that race.”

The Challenge Championship, a 440-yard race for 3-year-olds and up, will award the winner a berth in the Champion of Champions (G1) on December 11 at Los Alamitos and in The Championship at Sunland Park (G1) on December 26. The starters, in post position order with their jockeys and morning-line odds, are:

A Royal Dervish, Jeff Jerman, 12-1
XO Kate, Santos Carrizales, 12-1
Stolis Winner, Jerrod Deschamp, 5-2
Jess A Runner, G.R. Carter Jr., 6-1
Splash To Paradise, Alfonso Lujan, 30-1
Illegal Memories, J.R. Ramirez, 12-1
Global Exciter, Larry Payne, 20-1
Rylees Boy, Joe Ruiz, 6-1
Jess You And I, Alex Baldillez Jr., 7-2
Feature Jess Rockin, John Hamilton, 8-1
Time For A Cigar, Cody Jensen, 8-1

The Bank of America Challenge Championship is the 12th of 13 races at Fair Grounds with an approximate post time of 9:46 p.m. Central time. The 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 AMY OWENS