Will Rogers Downs Challenge Recap

Will Rogers Downs Challenge Recap

Four regional Bank of America Racing Challenge stakes were run at the track on Sunday.

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Four regional Bank of America Challenge Championship berths were decided at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma, on Sunday.

Following is a recap of all four stakes. This year's Bank of America Challenge Championships will be run at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas, on Saturday, October 21.

John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge
The fourth-fastest qualifier and 7-5 favorite in a full field of 10 2-year-olds, JT True Grit sprinted to a 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $92,472 John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge Stakes.

JT True Grit went 350 yards in :17.394 while posting a 104 speed index. Roman Cruz rode the homebred Capo de Capi gelding for owner and trainer Jeffrey Tyer.

JT True Grit was bred in Oklahoma, and he made his local debut with a victory in a Juvenile Challenge trial on September 12. The gelding is out of Redneck Kitty, a winning daughter of champion Country Chicks Man.

JT True Grit was winning for the fifth time in eight starts, and the $42,537 winner's share of the purse from his first lifetime stakes win increased his earnings to $99,577. The gelding's record includes a third-place finish in the July 22, 350-yard Speedhorse Futurity (G3) at Fair Meadows at Tulsa, and he was a finalist in the March 25, 300-yard Oklahoma Futurity (G2) at Remington Park.

Fastest qualifier Vintage Candy ran sixth, 4 1/4 lengths behind JT True Grit.

Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge
The photo finish camera couldn't separate fastest qualifier AJ Fast Corona and sixth-fastest qualifier Big Caney, as the two rivals finished in a dead heat for the win in Sunday's 400-yard, $56,381 Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge Stakes for 3-year-olds.

AJ Fast Corona and Big Caney both reached the wire in :19.925. Jorge Torres rode AJ Fast Corona for owners Kim Paulsen and Tom Maher, and trainer Jason Olmstead, while Big Caney was ridden by Erik Esqueda for owner Luis Escobedo and trainer Lucio Espiritu.

AJ Fast Corona was bred in Oklahoma by Rancho El Cabresto Inc., and the Apollitical Jess filly was a $90,000 purchase by Paulsen and Maher at the 2021 Heritage Place Yearling Sale. Raced in two states, including New Mexico, AJ Fast Corona has won three of 10 starts and has earned $69,639, of which $55,015 has been banked from eight outs this season.

Big Caney is a son of the PYC Paint Your Wagon stallion Painted Dash. The brown gelding was bred in Kansas by Fred Kaminska, and he is out of Dash For Jess, an unraced daughter of the Mr Jess Perry stallion Take Off Jess.

Big Caney was winning for the second time in six outs and increasing his bankroll to $34,179.

Q-Racing Video Will Rogers Distaff Challenge
Lynnder 16 was a prompt 1-2 favorite in Sunday's 400-yard, $36,465 Q-Racing Video Will Rogers Distaff Challenge Stakes for fillies and mares.

Trained by Jason Olmstead for owners Tom Maher and Dick Tobin, Lynnder 16 defeated 5-1 second choice Glamazon by 1 1/2 lengths in :19.658. Edwin Escobedo rode the 7-year-old daughter of world champion Apollitical Jess, who earned a 101 speed index from her 12th lifetime stakes win.

Lynnder 16 was bred in Oklahoma by James and Marilyn Helzer, and she was the fastest qualifier from two trials run on September 12. A $31,000 buy at the 2017 Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale, the sorrel mare is out of Tinys Corona Queen, a winning daughter of the Holland Ease stallion Corona Cartel. Her second dam, the First Down Dash mare Tiny First Effort, won three graded stakes in California from 2000-02, including the 2001 Southern California Derby (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

Campaigned in seven states, Lynnder 16 has won 21 of 40 races -- including 14 of 24 at the 400-yard trip and four of four at Will Rogers Downs -- and she has banked $874,037. The mare has won five graded stakes, including the 2020 AQHA Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Albuquerque Downs, and she was a finalist in the 2018 All American Futurity (G1).

AQHA Will Rogers Distance Challenge
Kelly Yother Equine LLC's O Donovan Rossa won Sunday's $25,806 AQHA Will Rogers Distance Challenge Stakes.

O Donovan Rossa covered 870 yards in :45.936, and his margin of victory was 3 1/4 lengths from dead heat runners-up Dance The Dust Off and The Dream. Bryan Candanosa rode the 5-year-old Apollitical Jess gelding for trainer Dee Keener.

O Donovan Rossa was bred in Oklahoma by J. Garvan Kelly, and he was making his first start since June 3, when he ran second, three-quarters of  a length behind winner Big Dynasty, in the 870-yard, $54,000 Remington Park Distance Championship (G1). His dam, the stakes-winning Country Chicks Man mare Shanachee, ran second in the 2011 Iowa Double Gold Futurity (G3) at Prairie Meadows.

All told, O Donovan Rossa has won 10 of 31 starts -- including six of eight at the 870 trip -- and the $13,419 winner's share of the purse from his fourth stakes victory pushed his earnings to $245,184.

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