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October 25, 2011
Spit Curl Diva and Tom Lepic
Spit Curl Diva, who captured the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) in 2010, will return to action Saturday night in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Owned by the Lepic-Morgan Partnership of Iowa City, Iowa, the 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred daughter of Spit Curl Jess has established herself as one of the top racehorses in the country with 19 wins from 35 starts, 12 stakes victories and earnings of $807,903. Based on her earnings of $500,000 and ten victories, including two or more open Grade 1 stakes races, Spit Curl Diva was honored as an American Quarter Horse Association Supreme Race Horse. She was the 24th of 29 horses since 1983 to receive the prestigious award.
"She's one of a kind," acknowledges owner Tom Lepic. "We had a late start this year as we pulled three embryos when she was bred to Corona Cartel and First Down Dash."
In her true indomitable fashion, she returned in fine form, winning the Golden Driller Stakes at Fair Meadows on June 4. Lepic sent her to Colorado over the summer to train with some relief from the heat. She returned to Prairie Meadows in August, defending her title in the Keokuk Stakes (G3) at 400 yards and setting a new track record in the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge Championship (G2) on September 3. She crossed the wire of the 440-yard stakes in :21.162, defeating nine rivals including Jess A Runner and Acorn, who will take her on again on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.
Lepic is proud of many of the accomplishments of his marvelous mare, including the fact that she has set records at four distances.
"The only record she has not set is at 330 yards," said Lepic. "She is so good out of the gates; so strong. It's just incredible."
Historically, Spit Curl Diva and 12 other horses have track records at 5 or 6 different distances. However, Spit Curl Diva is the only horse to accomplish this since 1996.
Lepic credits the husband and wife team of David and Jody Brown for the success of Spit Curl Diva. However, her previous effort at Los Alamitos in the 2010 Champion of Champions did not go well.
"She didn't settle in at all," recalled Lepic. "She got hit pretty hard coming out of the gate. We decided to send her to Paul Jones right after the Prairie Meadows Championship. He has given us great guidance and says she is happy."
Spit Curl Diva had a nice work on October 12, going 350 yards in :18.20. David Brown will fly in to ride on Saturday evening.
Mares have done very well in the Bank of America Challenge Championship; Junos Request won in 1993; Down with Debt in 1994; Kool Kue Baby won in 1996 and 1999; This Snow Is Cold emerged victorious in 2006 and Feature Jess Rockin surged to the wire last November at Fair Grounds.
For Lepic, there is no bigger thrill than winning at the "classic distance" of 440 yards.
"We always believed in our mare," said Lepic. "The race that helped everyone recognize her talent was the 2010 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park. There she proved she could run against the top caliber horses in the country."
The draw for the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) will take place on Wednesday, October 26. The field is expected to include Stolis Winner, the all-time money earner in American Quarter Horse history; Rylees Boy; Time for A Cigar; Favorite Cartel; and Acorn, winner of the 2010 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1).
More news on all the contenders in the Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships can be found on www.aqharacing.com throughout the week. BY MARTHA CLAUSSEN
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