angle-left Q-Racing Blog: Three in One

Q-Racing Blog: Three in One

This is going to be a big weekend for Challenge juveniles.

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By Ty Wyant

The weekend of August 17-18 is a whirl of activity for 2-year-olds in the Bank of America Racing Challenge.

The John Deere Juvenile Challenge races are scheduled for Los Alamitos, Retama Park and Evergreen Park. The winners of each of those races receives an invitation to race in the $125,000-est. John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) during the Bank of America Challenge Championships at Albuquerque Downs on October 26.

The $43,291 John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge features four prospects owned by Reliance Ranches LLC and trained by Mike Robbins. Three of the four freshmen are homebred fillies and the other horse, Invader, was a $52,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

“This is a good opportunity to get black type on these horses, especially for the fillies to increase their breeding value,” Robbins said. “This is not the group we would have sent to Ruidoso, so this race fits them. They are in the Golden State (Million Futurity) and the Los Alamitos Two Million (Futurity).”

The foursome is Giving Freely, SC South Sixteen, Invader and Lady Six Sky.

Giving Freely, a daughter of Corona Cartel, won her maiden two starts ago and then was second by a neck in her John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge trial.

“She shin bucked early this year and we now have her right,” Robbins said. “I look for her to run a big race coming back in the finals.”

SC South Sixteen is a full sister to SC Money Maker, a qualifier to the $1,008,129 Rainbow Derby (G1) this year.

A daughter of PYC Paint Your Wagon and Spit Curl Diva, SC South Sixteen is still a maiden after five starts, however was beaten by only a neck in her trial while finishing in fourth place.

“She’s a nice filly,” Robbins said. “She’s just been slow to mature. She’s coming around now.”

Invader, a gelding by Tres Seis, makes his stakes debut after racing to three wins and a pair of second-place finishes from five starts. He won his trial by three quarters of a length.

“He’s the one they need to beat,” Robbins said. “He didn’t break (in his trial) like he has in the past and then just blew by them. He’s really getting good now.”

The Valiant Hero-sired Lady Six Sky won her maiden at first asking back in March at Remington Park and now has that win, a second and two third-place finishes from five starts. She was second in her trial behind Invader.

“This is a nice filly, but she’s immature,” Robbins said. “She needs more distance. It takes her a while to get going.”

The $71,341 John Deere Deere Retama Park Juvenile Challenge features a rematch between the top-two qualifiers, Pat Allen’s homebred Pa Cha Ching and Rancho La Cobra’s Hes El Martillo.

Pa Cha Ching got a great start in their trial and then was able to hold off Hes El Martillo by a neck in the last of four trials while the two horses raced to the top-two qualifying marks.

A son of Tempting Dash, Pa Cha Ching raced to a :17.771 time for the 350 yards while Hes El Martillo was clocked in :17.809. They are the only finalists with a qualifying time below :18.0.

They each have stakes experience. Pa Cha Ching was second in the $459,700 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) and Hes El Martillo raced in the $308,300 Firecracker Futurity (G2).

The $34,595 John Deere Evergreen Park Juvenile Challenge pits the winners of the two trials, Charles Stojan’s Light Footed and Tom Kenway’s homebred Double Cruise.

Light Footed recorded the fastest qualifying time of :18.555 while Double Cruise is the second-fastest qualifier with a :18.716 mark. They raced over a track listed as good with a stiff crosswind.

The William Leech-trained Light Footed, a daughter of Stel Corona, won her maiden in her second start when she took her trial by 1 length.

Trained by Kenway, Double Cruise comes off a pair of wins after finishing second in his career debut.

The field for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship gains more clarity in just one weekend with these three races.

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