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Keeton has Top Challenge Qualifiers

Cindi Keeton has a handful of top Challenge runners at Sam Houston

May 17, 2012

Trainer Cindi Keeton saddles three hopefuls, led by fastest-qualifier Jody Pops Zoomer, in the $72,900 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge (G3) and sends out fastest-qualifier Charmin Chief Corona in the $112,950 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge on Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.

Gary and Randal Kurz’s Jody Pops Zoomer (Zoomin For Bux-Jody Pops Little Sis by Jody O Toole) rebounded from a less-than-ordinary sixth-place finish in his career debut to win the seventh of nine John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trials over second-fastest qualifier RC Had To Be My Day (Hadtobenuts-Make It My Day by Jodys Glory). The gelding scored in his John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trial by a neck with a :17.767 time for 350 yards.

The Keeton-trained trio is rounded out by third-fastest qualifier Leading Version (Latest Version-Divas Image by Eyesa Special), owned by Gerardo Rivera, and Sam Houston Juvenile winner Rightamountofwrong (Fly Jess Fly-Aftertheloveisgone by Dash For Cash), owned by partnership Potts/Powers/Smith/Stanfield.

Leading Version made her career debut in the John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trials and responded with a neck win at 17-1 odds. Her third-fastest time was :17.901.

Rightamountofwrong has started three times and moved forward with a pair of wins after a fifth-place finish in her Sam Houston Futurity trial win. She took the Sam Houston Juvenile (R) by a neck and then impressed in her John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trial with a length win in :18.028 as the 3-5 favorite.

Jesus Longornia’s RC Had To Be My Day won his Sam Houston Futurity (G2) trial in his first start and then was a troubled eighth-place finisher in the finals at 9-2 odds. He was the 9-5 favorite in his John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trial before running the troubled second in his trial behind Jody Pops Zoomer as the 11-10 favorite with a :17.797 time.

In the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge, Gary Kurz’s homebred Charmin Chief Corona (Chief Corona-Charming Illusions by First Illusions) should be the solid favorite after dominating the first of three trials with a 1 1/2-length win with a :19.675 time for the 400 yards.

Charmin Chief Corona shoots for her fourth-straight win and second derby win of the Sam Houston meet. Two starts ago, she fought to a neck win in the Sam Houston Derby (G3) in :17.683 for 350 yards.

Charmin Chief Corona has five wins from eight starts and has three wins from four starts at Sam Houston.

Luis Delacerda’s Making Deals (Streakin Sixes-Excellent Deal by Runaway Winner) raced to a fifth-place finish in the Sam Houston Derby and then was second to Charmin Chief Corona in their trial with the second-fastest time of :19.897.

Last year, the Jasmine Fierro-trained Making Deals was third in the TQHA Sires Cup Futurity (RG2).