Bank of America Challenge Championship Race Previews

November 12, 2010

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Stolis Winner After All-Time Earnings Mark

Jerry Windham’s homebred world champion Stolis Winner attempts to secure the all-time earnings record for an American Quarter Horse when he races in the 440-yard $350,000 Bank of America Racing Challenge Championship (G1) on November 19 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, the richest race on the Bank of America Challenge Championship card.

Stolis Winner (Stoli-Veva Jean by Runaway Winner) has been chasing Refrigerator’s all-time earnings mark of $2,126,309 throughout 2010 and has pulled to within $7,328 of the record. Stolis Winner has earned $2,118,981 from 21 starts. If he finishes in seventh place or better in the Bank of America Racing Challenge Championship, he will become the all-time leading money earner.

Windham and Jim Helzer, the owner of Refrigerator, are each past presidents of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Refrigerator and Stolis Winner both won the All American Futurity (G1) as juveniles to bank the $1 million first-place check. They then each added important Grade 1 wins to move to the top-two positions on the all-time earnings list.

After winning the 1991 All American Futurity, Refrigerator won the next three runnings of the Champion of Champions (G1) and was named the world champion in 1992 and 1993.

The Heath Taylor-trained Stolis Winner earned $1,807,437 of his career total as a 2-year-old in 2008; that vaulted him to seventh place on the all-time earnings list and the chase for Refrigerator’s mark was under way.

The strapping bay was honored as the 2008 world champion, champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding. He is the only horse since 1995 to be world champion as a juvenile.

Stolis Winner has raced with stakes-winning success since his world championship campaign at 2.

At 3, Stolis Winner stepped up with a win in the Texas Classic Derby (G1) as part of the strongly favored entry. He also raced to a second-place finish in the Dash For Cash Derby (G1) and was eighth in the All American Derby (G1) as the 11-10 favorite.

This year, Stolis Winner got off to an impressive start when he won the Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G1) and earned his berth in the Bank of America Challenge Championship. He has been winless in his three subsequent starts, however has shown his class with a very close second in the Refrigerator Handicap (G1) and a second against Texas-breds in the B.F. Phillips Handicap (RG3).

The Double Bar S Ranch’s homebred Jess You And I (Feature Mr Jess-Gold Daze by Tolltac) also has championship titles from 2008 when he was named the aged champion and champion aged gelding. He won the Champion of Champions and the Go Man Go Handicap (G1) during his championship season.

Trained this year by Toby Keeton while racing outside of California, Jess You And I won the Bank of America Remington Park Challenge (G1) by more than 2 lengths and then narrowly won the Remington Park Invitational (G1) over One Diamond Kitty, recent winner of the New Mexico Classic Cup Championship.

Jess A Runner (Jess Louisiana Blue-Katiebug Driver by My Designated Driver) is in sharp form for trainer Jose Ibarra with three straight wins, capped by two stakes wins. The gelding pulled a 9-1 upset to take the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge (G2) and then solidified that performance by taking the Two Rivers Stakes (G3) at Prairie Meadows.

Gerardo Ochoa’s Rylees Boy (Heza Motor Scooter-Pipistrelle by Rocky Jones) makes his third start off a layoff and has brilliant speed. He started 2010 with a win in the KFOX-FM Handicap (G2) and then scorched 440 yards in :20.786 to win the Bank of America Sunland Park Championship Challenge (G1) over the fast Sunland Park track.

The Gerardo Ochoa-Pena-trained Rylees Boy returned this fall to finish second behind champion Time For A Cigar in the Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge (G3) as the 2-5 favorite in his most recent start.

Time For A Cigar (Corona Cartel-Time For A Goddess by Timeto Thinkrich), the 2009 champion 3-year-old gelding, defeated Rylees Boy by 1 1/2 lengths in the Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge for trainer Tony Sedillo. Last year, the gelding won the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and the Sunland Winter Derby (G2) and was second behind champion Inseperable in the Rainbow Derby (G1).

Owned by Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach’s Buena Suerte Equine, Time For A Cigar has the same ownership as 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mine That Bird.

Bob and Scott Giltner’s A Royal Dervish (Royal Miracle Dip-Three Royal Roses by First Down Dash) takes a step up in class chasing his fifth consecutive win. He earned his trip to Fair Grounds by winning the Bank of America Elko Championship Challenge in his latest start.

Acorn Tries to Rebound in Adequan Derby

Sam Houston Derby winner Acorn tries to return to his winning ways after a second-place run as the favorite in the Dash For Cash Derby (G2) when he faces Diamond For Jess in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge (G1) over 400 yards.

Rose Mary Chandler’s Acorn (Oak Tree Special-Trio Gal (TB) by Tasso) reeled off four straight wins for trainer Janet VanBebber before finishing a lackluster sixth in the Dash For Cash Derby as the 2-1 choice. During his winning streak he had impressive three-quarter-length wins in the Sam Houston Derby (G2) and the Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge (G3).

The consistent gelding has started 12 times with seven wins and a pair of second-place finishes.

Dan Nicks’ Diamond For Jess (Feature Mr Jess-First Place Diamond by First Place Dash) could vie for favoritism after handy wins this year in the Remington Park Derby (G2) and the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge. The Rick Robinson-trained gelding won the Remington Park Derby by half a length and the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge by nearly 2 lengths.

Like Acorn, Diamond For Jess delivers winning consistency with seven victories from 15 starts.

Ronnie Armstrong’s An Ocean Rocket (Ocean Runaway-Bebes Ronas Rocket by Ronas Ryon) has blossomed this year for trainer “Sleepy” Gilbreath after scoring only a maiden win from three starts during his 2-year-old campaign.

The gelding showed marked improvement at Ruidoso Downs this summer when he won the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge by a game nose. He then came up a neck short and finished second in the Hobbs America Derby (G2) at Zia Park.

Donald and Peggy Boyle’s homebred Summit Bid (Mountains Majesty-Shirleys Strawfly by Strawfly Special) has stepped forward with two wins in his latest two starts. The half-brother to champion Strawkins won in the Adequan Canterbury Downs Derby Challenge and then easily took a conditioned allowance at Prairie Meadows for trainer William Harris.

A Spring Snow After Seventh Straight Win

The Abraham Jaquez-owned and -trained A Spring Snow guns for his seventh consecutive win in a race filled with hot claiming-ranks warriors in the $75,000 Pfizer Starter Allowance Challenge over 350 yards.

A Spring Snow (This Snow Is Royal-Lexines Legacy by Special Effort) ships to Fair Grounds after reeling off six straight victories at SunRay Park and The Downs at Albuquerque. He was the favorite in each of these races and in only one of those victories was the margin less than 1 length. Yet, that may be the most important win.

On June 18 at SunRay Park, A Spring Snow went off as the odds-on choice against an open allowance field. He had trouble at the start and was able to rally to get the nose win in a very respectable :19.292 time for 400 yards.

A Spring Snow was then given a nearly two-month break and he has returned with two daylight wins at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Precisionist RM and Snow Patrol, a pair of veterans from Los Alamitos, will be dangerous in the Pfizer Starter Allowance Championship.

Gustavo De La Torre’s Precisionist RM (Separatist-Six On The Beach by Streakin Six) comes off back-to-back wins and four wins in his latest five outs. He starts this streak with a win at the $2,000 claiming level and prevailed in a $13,095 conditioned allowance race in his latest start.

Robert Parra’s Snow Patrol (This Snow Is Royal-Streakin Love by Streakin Six) won four in a row before finishing third in his latest two starts. Those two third-place runs came after troubled starts and were against $20,000-$30,000 claiming company which shows he fits well against the Pfizer Starter Allowance Championship competition.

Wade Siegel and Don Boyle’s SC Captivator (Oak Tree Special-Oh Bobbette by First Down Dash) is also on a roll with three straight victories. He started his streak with a win against $5,000 claimers and dominated the regional qualifier to the Pfizer Starter Allowance Championship by 1 1/2 lengths in his latest start.

Haddad-Trained Pair Tough in John Deere Juvie

The Jorge Haddad-trained pair of Giorgino and Gols Money Pop provide the Texas-based trainer a solid one-two punch in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) if they both compete.

Also bred and owned by Haddad, Giorgino (Apollo (TB)-Las Alamitos by First Down Dash) qualified for the $1,120,662 Texas Classic Futurity (G1) contested on November 13 at Lone Star Park and would be returning to action in just six days if he races in both the Texas Classic Futurity and the John Deere Juvenile Challenge.

Giorgino has scored his four career wins in his latest four starts with conquests in the TQHA Sires Futurity (G2) and the John Deere Delta Downs Juvenile Challenge (G3). In the TQHA Sires Futurity two starts ago, he displayed his gameness in the final strides to win by a neck. He then raced in the trials to the Texas Classic Futurity, winning by half a length with the seventh-fastest qualifying time of :19.696.

Gary Kurz’s homebred Gols Honey Money Pop (Gol-Gotta Money Pop by Man In The Money) has three wins from five starts. However, two of those wins came when he was awarded the first-place money after disqualification of the horse that crossed the finish line first. Then, in his most recent start, he crossed the finish line first, but was placed last for interference.

Regardless, Gols Honey Money Pop has proven to be a solid stakes competitor. He was awarded the win in the John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge (G3) and raced to a fifth-place finish in the TQHA Sale Futurity (G1).

Tony and J. Lloyd Yother’s homebred A Plain Brown Rapper (A Regal Choice-Belles A Lady by Corona Cartel) has won three straight races while moving up in class for trainer William Harris. The gelding capped this improvement with a dominating win in the John Deere Prairie Meadows Juvenile Challenge by 2 1/4 lengths as the 13-10 favorite.

Francisco Colorado’s Loose Perry (Mr Jess Perry-Loose Chick by Chicks Beduino) makes his first start in the United States after winning each of his four career starts, including two stakes races, in Mexico City. He won his qualifying race to the John Deere Juvenile Challenge by three-quarters of a length and took another stakes by the same margin in his latest effort for trainer Guadalupe Inzunza.

Spit Curl Diva Continues Championship Bid

Spit Curl Diva continues her bid for a championship title when she chases her fourth-straight stakes win and second-straight Grade 1 victory in the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge (G1) at 400 yards.

Owned by Lepic-Morgan Partnership, the 4-year-old Spit Curl Diva (Spit Curl Jess-Some Kinda Diva by Some Dasher) is a championship contender with seven wins – including five stakes scores – from eight 2010 starts. This stellar record boosted her career record to 15 wins and 25 on-the-board efforts from 28 starts.

Spit Curl Diva gamely showed she deserves championship consideration in her most recent starts when she held on for a game head win over 2008 world champion Stolis Winner in the Refrigerator Handicap (G1) at Lone Star Park. That was her first open Grade 1 win and it came over a field that included proven Grade 1 male sprinters.

Earlier this year she raced to stakes wins in the Bob Moore Stakes (G2), Keokuk Stakes (G3), Decketta Handicap (G3) and the Merial Distaff Arapahoe Park Challenge.

Luis Romero and Felizardo Mendez’s Jacque Seis (Tres Seis-Toogoodtobeforgoten by Chicks Beduino) is sharp and could be in the best form of her 18-race career. Two starts ago she won the Merial Ruidoso Downs Distaff Challenge by a length for New Mexico-based trainer Luis Romero. The 4-year-old mare then joined the Heath Taylor stable at Lone Star Park and unleashed a strong closing kick to take a distaff allowance race by three-quarters of a length.

Lucas Racing Inc.’s Little Surfer (First Down Dash-Runaway Wave by Runaway Winner) is a sister to Champion of Champions winners and champions Ocean Runaway and Wave Caver. The “Sleepy” Gilbreath-trained mare won the $145,000 Hialeah Derby last winter and earned her way to Fair Grounds with a daylight victory in the Merial Lone Star Distaff Challenge in her latest start.

Veterans In Red Cell Distance Challenge

The “good ol’ boy” Sheet Burns, with 72 career starts, is set to meet relative youngster Stone E Motion in the $125,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge (G1) at 870 yards.

Maclovio Regalado’s Sheet Burns (Okey Dokey Dale-Shes Alive And Easy by Easy Jet) is a well-seasoned 8-year-old gelding who is still in peak form with 870-yard stakes wins each of the last two years. He comes into the Red Cell Distance Challenge after racing to three consecutive stakes wins.

In his latest start he defeated the premier 870-yard horses in New Mexico with a three-quarter-length win in the $55,000 Herman Jefferson Stakes (G3) at Zia Park as the 11-10 favorite.

On the board in 41 of his 72 outs, Sheet Burns took the Red Cell Lone Star Distance Challenge two starts ago when he drew out to a 1 1/2-length win as the 17-10 favorite.

Lori Harris’ 5-year-old Stone E Motion (SC Chiseled In Stone-Cystal Motion by Power Train) could gain favoritism in the Red Cell Distance Challenge with six wins in his latest seven starts while moving from the $5,000 claiming ranks to the stakes division. The William Harris-trained gelding won a trio of Grade 3 stakes over 870 yards at Remington Park this spring and dominated the Covered Bridges Stakes at Prairie Meadows by nearly five lengths in his latest effort.