angle-left Q-Racing Blog: On to the Championship

Q-Racing Blog: On to the Championship

The Challenge Championships are sneaking up fast.

text size

This year’s Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships are October 26 at The Downs at Albuquerque. That may sound like a long time from now, but it’s like Christmas: Every year, it sneaks up on you. The regional qualifying races are underway and the list of the horses becoming eligible is building to a full starting gate in less than three months.

Hopefully you saw the news – the event will also be held in Albuquerque in 2020, the first time the same track has held the event for two consecutive years. It will be a great location to showcase some of our top horses. 

Five of the qualifying races to the $250,000-est. Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) have been contested and those five winners that have earned a berth in the 440-yard final. They are Pirate Coves Hero, Kas Tempting, Eye N Capo, Kool Odds and PYC Jess Bite My Dust.

Julio Villar Torres’ Pirate Coves Hero earned his trip to Albuquerque with a win in the $46,657 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge on April 28. Pirate Coves Hero had to fight for the win. The gelding drew the outside post position and he needed every inch of the quarter mile to get the victory.

Jockey Emilio Tapia hustled Pirate Coves Hero to the head victory over Jess Move You. They were timed in :21.407.

A 5-year-old son of Valiant Hero, Pirate Coves Hero came back in his next race to win the second division of the $15,000 Wayne Brasher Memorial Stakes at Arizona Downs.

Pirate Coves Hero has proven to be a bargain. He was claimed for $7,500 at Remington Park back in May 2018 and now he is eligible to race in a prestigious Grade 1 race.

Garza Laurel Partnership’s Kas Tempting surprised at 15-1 odds when he won the $65,637 Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G2) on May 11. Jockey Sergio Becerra Jr. hustled Kas Tempting throughout the 440 yards and went past SF Hot Pass, racing on his inside, in the final jumps to secure the neck win.

A 4-year-old son of Tempting Dash, Kas Tempting backed up that win in his next start. Now the 2-1 favorite, Kas Tempting once again was best at the end.

Kas Tempting’s best previous stakes performance was a close second behind 15-1 outsider Serendipity Rocks in the 2018 $191,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3). Kas Tempting was beaten by a head as the 2-1 favorite.

Ruben Monetmayor’s 5-year-old Eye N Capo has been a class horse in each year he has competed and has been favored in his latest 10 starts. At 2, he won the $384,615 Dash For Cash Futurity (G2) by 1 length as the 3-2 favorite over eventual champion Duponte. At 3, he was second by a head as the odds-on favorite in the $305,400 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby. At 4, he won the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and the $50,000 Miss Polly Classic (G3) as the odds-on favorite in each race.

This year, at 5, Eye N Capo has two stakes wins from three starts. He won the $50,000 Rio Grande Handicap at Sunland Park before his win in the $88,442 Remington Park Bank of America Championship Challenge (G2) on May 12. The Capo de Capi-sired gelding sped down the rail in the Remington Park Bank of America Championship Challenge to handily handle his rivals by three quarters of a length, as the 7-10 favorite.

Hanson Racing LLC and Robin Dunn’s Kool Odds scored his first stakes win of a consistent career with a neck victory in the $50,677 Bank of America Sandy Downs Championship Challenge on July 4. The Mark Hanson-trained gelding raced on the lead to get the neck win as a 12-1 outsider.

A gelding by the red-hot sire Favorite Cartel, Kool Odds has campaigned primarily in the Intermountain region with five wins, four seconds and a third from 12 starts. He was second in last year’s $41,400 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge.

Lunderborg LLC’s homebred PYC Jess Bite Mydust made his Challenge debut in the $54,511 Bank of America Canterbury Park Championship Challenge on July 7 and responded with head victory for trainer Jason Olmstead.

PYC Jess Bite Mydust, a gelding by Apollitical Jess, came back in his latest start to finish third in the $38,600 Bob Morehouse Stakes for Minnesota-breds as the 7-5 favorite.

It’s at the halfway point with five qualifiers to the Bank of America Challenge Championship. Next up is the Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3) on August 10. The nomination list includes the Bill Hoburg-owned, -bred and -trained BH Lisas Boy, second-place finisher in the $155,100 Vessels Maturity (G1) on July 7.

Christmas is getting closer.

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.