The AQHA office is closed Thursday, December 25, Friday, December 26, and Thursday, January 1.

Favorites Takes Saturday Challenge Races at Sun Downs

Ought To Azoom, First Specialist post track record times and give their connections a sweep of both races.

May 5, 2013

Both of the favorites came through with victories on Saturday as Sun Downs in Washington presented a pair of Bank of America Racing Challenge events. Both races resulted in track record times for horses owned by San Gregorio Racing Stable Inc., trained by Danny Montes and ridden by Reuben Lozano.

In the $21,510 Zoetis Sun Downs Starter Allowance Challenge, Ought To Azoom set a new track record with a half-length victory in a time of :17.35 for 350 yards. The 6-year-old Azoom gelding’s time equaled a speed index of 111, and Ought To Azoom paid $4.80 to win as the heavy favorite.  

Ought To Azoom was the beaten favorite in last year’s renewal of the race, but he returned this year to make amends by picking up the winner’s check for $9,895 and a berth in the $75,000 Zoetis Starter Allowance Challenge Championship to be run at his home track of Los Alamitos on November 9. Ought To Azoom has spent most of his career at Los Alamitos, where he last ran second in a $2,500 claiming race in November before kicking off his 2013 campaign at Sun Downs with a victory in a trial for this race. All told, the Oklahoma-bred has banked $57,461 in his career.

Ruben Magallanes’ Eyes Movin, who won this same race last year, put in a game effort to finish second with Troy Stillwell up for trainer Hector Magallanes. Pablo Madrigal’s Snowbound Superchick rallied to finish third.

The $21,204 Dick Monahan Maiden Challenge went to 3-2 favorite First Specialist, who also set a track record at 350 yards until it was eclipsed an hour later by Ought To Azoom. First Specialist clocked the distance in :17.42 to lower the mark of :17.45 set by Full Snow Moon in 2011.

First Specialist, a California-bred colt by First Down Dash out of the Special Effort mare Specialist, remained a maiden through his first 14 career starts, with many of those efforts coming in futurity and derby trials. The 4-year-old shipped in from Los Alamitos to Sun Downs for the Maiden Challenge trials and visited the winner’s circle for the first time. Now a two-time winner, First Specialist has earned $24,489 in his career.

Steve Wright’s Best Kept Secrets, a No Secrets Here gelding who spent last year racing in Wyoming and Idaho, finished second. Gary Chumbley’s homebred GC Streakin Okey, the third-place finisher in last year’s Baxter Andruss Oregon Bred Futurity (R) at Portland Meadows, got up for third.