Burgart Blog: Weekend Challenge Races

Burgart Blog: Weekend Challenge Races

Tips for handicapping this weekend's Challenge stakes in Oklahoma and Texas.

A blurry photo of a racehorse competing. PHOTO: Bee Silva

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Video-tape observations are a main ingredient for me in handicapping Quarter Horse races, and I'm expecting A Fleeting Kiss, Awesome View and Good Knight Country to be dangerous in regional challenge races at Lone Star Park and Will Rogers Downs this weekend.

A Fleeting Kiss goes postward in the $20,000 Q-Racing Video Lone Star Distaff Challenge on Saturday. On Sunday, Awesome View runs in the $30,000 Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge while Good Knight Country is entered in the $30,000 John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge. Also on Sunday, multiple Grade I winner Lynnder 16 heads the field in the $25,000 Q-Racing Video Will Rogers Distaff Challenge. The other Sunday attraction is the $25,000 AQHA Will Rogers Distance Challenge.

Here is a look at the five regional challenge championship races in which the winners earn berths to their respective finals on Bank Of America Challenge Championship night October 22 at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Q-Racing Video Lone Star Distaff Challenge
Sin Sational Kisser is the 8-5 morning-line favorite and Best Moonflash in the 2-1 second choice. Yet, I like the chances of A Fleeting Kiss to outrun her 6-1 odds.

In her last fourth-place finish in the Miss Retama Stakes at Retama Park, A Fleeting Kiss didn't break well and displayed a nice stride during the final 1/16 when fourth while finishing two lengths behind Best Moonflash. In her prior three starts, A Fleeting Kiss won twice with one second while defeating Best Moonflash three races ago. A Fleeting Kiss in the lone entrant in the 9-horse field with a 400-yard victory.

Best Moonflash isn't keen on winning but has been second 8 times in 17 starts. Sin Sational Kisser dropped a nose photo two races back vs. 17-time winner Lynnder 16.

AQHA Will Rogers Distance Challenge
Expected to make an uncontested early lead, Shockinglyfamous is my choice to outrun Seb Ember and defending champion Dance The Dust Off in the 870-yard regional challenge.

In his last out, Shockingflyfamous was hard used from between horses when battling for the lead to the 3/16-pole before tiring to third vs. Mighty Valentino, who since ran second in the Gillespie County Fair Handicap. Earlier this year at Remington Park, Shockinglyfamous was second twice vs. Wascallywittlewabbit, who won last year's AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1).

Dance The Dust Off and Seb Ember ran first and second respectively in this challenge race last year.

Q-Racing Video Will Rogers Distaff Challenge
Classy mare Lynnder 16 is expected to outrun Apolltical Mogul and Apollitical J Julia in the 400-yard regional challenge.

Searching for her 18th victory, Lynnder 16 has defeated Apollitical Mogul in their two encounters over the past 14 months and captured this race last year. Lynnder 16 has $803,214 in lifetime earnings while winning 50 percent of her 34 starts.

Apollitical Mogul won the Prairie Meadows Sprint in her last start, defeating eventual 1-length Iowa allowance winner One Kool Dreamer.

Apollitical J Julia was fourth behind Lynnder 16 and Apollitical Mogul two outs ago at Canterbury Downs and is unlikely to outrun the two favorites.
 
Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge
Awesome View, winner of the 2021 John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge, caught my eye on the video-tape replay of a much-troubled third-place finish in the first of two trial races.

Stumbling badly and getting bumped back at the start, Awesome View was loaded with energy during the final 110 yards. With a clean start, I predict he turns the tables on Freighttrain King and Valentino Pete, who were first and second respectively.

The other top contender is Political Fire, who won the slower of two trial races when lugging out from the rail post during the final 1/16. She was third last year in a Los Alamitos Two Million trial against Whizkey Glasses, who was victorious in the 2021 Golden State Million Futurity (G1).
 
Will Rogers Downs John Deere Juvenile Challenge
My best value play in the five regional challenge races is Good Knight Country, who appeared much best when dropping a neck photo in the second of two trials.

Breaking one length slow while getting bumped in at the start from post 2, Good Knight Country finished with authority before galloping out strongly. The improving gelding has now been second in two of three starts.

Phunatic is strictly the horse Good Knight Country must defeat. Phunatic was a handy 3/4-length winner of the first trial while posting the fastest qualifying time of 17.90.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.