Rylees Boy Primed for Challenge Championship

The 6-year-old gelding faces a stiff challenge in his third Bank of America Challenge Championship appearance.

By Martha Claussen
October 27, 2011

Rylees Boy

Rylees Boy

Owner and trainer Gerardo Ochoa-Pena knows that Rylees Boy will face some steep competition in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on Saturday evening at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, California. The 6-year-old Arizona-bred son of Heza Motor Scooter has never shied away from tough company in the past, and is a deserving 8-5 morning-line favorite in the marquee race on the Bank of America Challenge card.

The well-traveled Rylees Boy will be making his 35th career start on Saturday evening. He has won 17 races and earned $609,481 since making his debut at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 7, 2007. He qualified for the Bank of America Challenge Championship by defending his title in the $117,000 Bank of America Sunland Park Challenge (G2) in April. But one of his most dominant performances came On May 28, when he won the the $250,000 Remington Park Championship (G1), in which he defeated a stellar field including Stolis Winner, Louisiana Senator, Freaky, Noconi and Favorite Cartel.

“That was the toughest race he has ever been in,” said Ochoa-Pena, who resides in Laveen, Arizona. “He proved in that race that he could compete with anybody.”

That performance vaulted Rylees Boy to the top of the AQHA Racing-Horseplayer.now Poll in the older horse division, and currently he has settled in third by pollster vote. By virtue of him topping the $500,000 mark in earnings with his second Grade 1 win, Rylees Boy was honored as an AQHA Supreme Horse.

Unraced since the win, his trainer reported that he came out of the Remington Park Invitational with an abscess on his left front hoof.

“We gave him some time, but he’s going to be ready on Saturday,” said Ochoa-Pena. “He’s a calm horse; never gets too excited about anything. He loves the distance of 440 yards and that’s what makes him so special.”

Regular rider Joe Ruiz will guide Rylees Boy, who drew post position 7 in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

“It’s a good post,” commented his trainer. “I don’t think it matters to him; he’ll run his race, no matter where he draws.”

Rylees Boy will be making his third start in the Bank of America Challenge Championship. He ran third in the 2009 Championship at Los Alamitos and was second in the 2010 Championship at Fair Grounds. The richest of the Challenge stakes awards the winner a berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 10 at Los Alamitos. Ochoa-Pena is a strong supporter of the AQHA’s championship program.

“I love it,” admits Ochoa-Pena. “Everywhere I go, I run into Darrell Hare (the Bank of America Challenge director). He has been very good to us and we love competing in the Challenge program.”

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