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Iowa Champions Night Opens Challenge Weekend

Iowa's stars to shine on Friday night at Prairie Meadows.

October 25, 2012

Iowa Champions Night, headed by fastest-qualifier Catchin Fire in the $128,500 Jim Bader Futurity, on Friday evening at Prairie Meadows starts AQHA Challenge Championship weekend and the closing weekend of the fall American Quarter Horse season.

On Saturday night, the Bank of America Challenge Championships with more than $1 million in purses will be contested. Multiple Grade 1 winner and $1,687,347 earner Llano Teller starts in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), the showcase race on the stakes-laden program.

Friday’s Iowa Champions Night brings out the premier Iowa-bred American Quarter Horses.

Tom Lepic’s fastest-qualifier Catchin Fire (Chicks A Blazin-Rodeo Rona by Cowboys Rodeo) could be favored to gain her fourth consecutive win and second stakes victory in the 350-yard Jim Bader Futurity, the richest race on the program.

After a third-place finish in a $25,000 maiden-claiming race in her first start, she has raced to three-straight victories. She easily won her Iowa QHR Sale Futurity (R) trial and then won the futurity final as the 3-5 favorite. She pushed her winning streak to three races with the fastest-qualifying length win in her October 12 Bader Futurity trial. She raced the 350-yards in :17.960.

Robert Brown and Sandra Brown’s Tellher To Fly (Teller Cartel-Two Sick by Strawfly Special) was second to Catchin Fire in the first of two trials with the second-fastest qualifying time of :18.105. She won her first two starts before her second-place finish in her Bader trial as the 2-5 favorite.

In the $94,400 Polk County Derby at 400 yards, John Lawless’ Eufaula Me (Okey Dokey Dale-Yawls Spreadn Rumors by Serious Rumors) has three wins and has never been worse than third in each of his six 2012 starts, including taking the $60,000 Iowa Double Gold Derby (R). He was also beaten by just a nose for second place in the $135,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park for trainer Clay Brent.

In the $60,000 Terrace Hill Stakes (RG3) for older horses at 400 yards, Warren Garrels’ homebred Iris Cartelsbadnews (Agouti-Another Hot Idea by Merganser) chases his fourth consecutive win while facing a contentious field. The Amy Wessels-trained gelding has won each of his three consecutive victories at Prairie Meadows, starting with a pair of allowance scores. He then scored a 7-1 mild upset win in the October 13Two Rivers Stakes (G3) when he pulled away to win by a length with a :21.748 time for the 440 yards. Iris Cartelsbadnews has won seven of 13 starts at Prairie Meadows and was second in last year’s Terrace Hill Stakes.

In the $39,000 Iowa Stallion Derby (R) at 400 yards, the Tony Jones-owned, -bred and –trained Yougottobekiddinme (Hot Shot Dash-Pipsqueak Shazoom by Shazoom) looks for his first win since taking the Iowa Stallion Futurity (R) more than a year ago. He has made three starts since then, all this year at Prairie Meadows, and comes off a third-place effort on September 30. The gelding has three wins and two third-place finishes from seven starts at Prairie Meadows.

In the $60,000 Future Of Iowa Stakes for older fillies and mares, Sheri Lynn Andrew’s Jess A Lil Twisted (Jess Louisiana Blue-Yawls Baby by By Yawl) looks for her first stakes win after racing to a daylight allowance win on August 25 at Prairie Meadows. The Brent Clay-trained filly also did her best work last year at the end of the Prairie Meadows season when she was second in the Jim Bader Futurity.
In the $51,850 Iowa Stallion Futurity (R) at 350 yards, Zach Madden’s fastest-qualifier Immahotdude (Hot Shot Dash-Lews Little Shakem by Shake Em Open) is in a prime position to gain his first stakes win and third victory from four starts. The Tony Dean Jones-trained gelding won the first of two Iowa Stallion Futurity trials by a half length in :18.371.

In the $25,000 Q-Racing Video Stakes for open horses at 870 yards, J. Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley’s homebred Free Stater (Separatist-Free Bird Fly (TB) by Biaconi) comes off a third-place finish in the September 15 Red Cell Prairie Meadows Distance Challenge (G3). The Charley Hunt-trained gelding battled for the lead and then gave way in the stretch. Free Stater also was second in the Red Cell Remington Park Distance Challenge back in May.