John Deere Indiana Juvenile Challenge

John Deere Indiana Juvenile Challenge

Prize Kiss lays one on in the John Deere Indiana Juvenile Challenge at Indiana Grand.

prize kiss wins the john deere indiana juvenile challenge

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Prize Kiss was the favorite for a reason coming into the $46,937 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Final Monday, September 20. The Tony Cunningham-trained freshman is always close at the wire and earned his second stakes win in the event to qualify for the Bank of America Challenge Championships set for The Downs at Albuquerque Saturday, October 23.

Starting from post four, Prize Kiss was a few strides slower than his opponents at the start, but quickly rebounded and got into gear for jockey L.D. Martinez. Stablemate All Star Beach was in contention for the lead early on. Prize Kiss traveled down the stretch in the 350-yard dash to gain the win by three-quarters of a length at the wire in :18.250. All Star Beach and Rolando Pina held ground inside well for second over Dominyuns Runaway and Jose Beltran, who finished a head back in third closing in on the outside.

Owned by Pamela Brickley Hann and Craig Zeneberg, Prize Kiss is now two for six in his career with only one start back of second place. The Kiss My Hocks colt was purchased out of the Heritage Place September Yearling Sale last fall for $38,000 and now has in excess of $138,000 for his connections. He won the $132,000 Heartland Futurity earlier in the season at Indiana Grand.

“He doesn’t always break that well and was a little off today, but Daniel (Martinez) said he got strong once he got out a ways,” said Cunningham, who finished one-two in the race as a trainer. “The team has done a super job with this horse. From the jockey to the grooms, they have all done a great job with him.”

The John Deere Indiana Juvenile Challenge, paired with the Q-Racing Video Indiana Distaff Challenge also on the card, established a precursor to the 2022 Bank of America Challenge Championships, which will be hosted by Indiana Grand. The races will be the first time the Challenge has come to Indiana and preparations are already underway for the Quarter Horse racing showcase.

“This will be a big thing for Indiana,” added Cunningham. “If we can get more people paid in it will go over really well here at Indiana Grand.”

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Thursday, November 11. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday through November 4 set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, October 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

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