Challenge: Homebred Dangers

Challenge: Homebred Dangers

Dean Frey has a full hand of fast homebreds for the Challenge Championships.

Bad Monkey plays on the hotwalker at the Bank of America Challenge Championships.

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By Andrea Caudill

This weekend has been a long time coming for Dean Frey of Stanton, California. 

He has three horses running in the Bank of America Challenge Championships on Saturday at The Downs at Albuquerque, including Kowboy Jim in the Downs Casino Stakes, Bad Monkey in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) and Danjer in the Bank of America Challenge Championships (G1).

He’s been pointing toward these races all year, but he’s been waiting far longer than that – all three of these horses are homebreds, which has required years of patient care to develop them into the major threats they are this week. 

“It makes it fun, it makes me proud,” he says of being able to race his homegrown horses. “But it’s been a long road getting there.”

Danjer will be super dangerous as a likely favorite in the crowning $250,000 race of the night, as he comes into this race off a victory in the September 20 Downs at Albuquerque Championship (G1). 

The 4-year-old gelding by FDD Dynasty is out of Frey’s homebred mare Shez Jess Toxic, whom he campaigned to earn $235,296 while winning races such as the 2011 Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2). The 2009 mare is by Take Off Jess and out of the Victory Dash mare Dashing Fly Lady. 

Danjer, whom Fry owns in partnership with Downtime Enterprises LLC and Billy Smith, has won nine of 18 starts and earned $736,955. 

This summer, he was second in the All American Gold Cup (G1) and won the Bank of America Canterbury Challenge (G3).

“He’s just got so much confidence in himself,” Frey says of the gelding. “He’s the type if you walk up to him with something in your hands, no matter what it is, he has to check it out. He’s real inquisitive. He’s just smart. Anything you ask of him he does.”

Frey says Shez Jess Toxic is set to have a full sibling to Danjer next spring, as well as a foal by Favorite Cartel.

Freshman Bad Monkey is trying his best to follow in Danjer’s hoofprints, as the horse bred, owned and trained by Frey has to date a record of three wins from six starts and earnings of $76,401. 

He won the John Deere Ruidoso Challenge (G3) this summer, and was the fastest qualifier for the Dash For Cash Futurity (G2), but got in running trouble during the final. 

“He got himself left, hopefully he’ll redeem himself here,” Frey says. 

Bad Monkey is by Capo De Capi and out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Girls Eye Too. The youngster is a character, his trainer says, and is maturing well.

“He wasn’t really much to look at as a baby,” Frey remembers. “He’s came around and turned into a nice looking individual.”

Rounding out the Frey homebreds is Kowboy Jim, who will run in the Downs at Albuquerque Stakes on the undercard. The 6-year-old has campaigned well in the Challenge program, and has won or placed in 22 of 32 starts and earned $199,646. 

Another son of FDD Dynasty, Kowboy Jim is out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Counting On You.  

Breeding, raising and racing graded stakes horses takes decades of good decisions, patience and care. As his geldings nap in their stalls, enjoying the cool fall morning after morning training, Frey is appreciative of his bumper crop of runners. 

“It’s been a long journey,” Frey says. “I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done so far.”

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