Challenge Championships: Winged Prayers

PTM Say Your Prayers Readies for Merial Distaff Challenge Championship.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
October 26, 2012

rtm say your prayers

RTM Say Your Prayers

RTM Say Your Prayers races for breeder Susan Hanson, and is prepared to contest the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) on Saturday. The mare stays close to home – she is trained by Susan’s family: husband Jim or sons Ryan and Mark – depending on where the mare is traveling to.

On Saturday, she will be trained by Mark, and ridden by Allen Corson. She will break from Post 2.

The 5-year-old daughter of Chickie Cherry Cola is out of the Dashin Is Easy mare Shirleys Secret. The Hansons bought Shirleys Secret as a 2-year-old in Texas from her breeder Jim Pitts. The mare, a full sister to graded-stakes placed runner Dashin Because, was lightly raced.

In 2006, Susan decided to try her hand at breeding.

“I thought, well, I’m going to try breeding this mare I have,” she says. “She was the first one I tried, was kind of a project.”

Foaled in 2007, RTM Say Your Prayers carries the initials of Susan’s children Ryan, Theresa and Mark.

They tried to qualify the mare to the Merial Challenge Championship last year, but finished second in the Merial Eastern Idaho Distaff Challenge. This year, RTM Say Your Prayers won the Merial Sandy Downs Distaff Challenge by a head. In her most recent start, she was fifth in the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap at Los Alamitos on October 5.

“She tries hard, and I guess that’s all we can ask of her,” says Susan. “I know she’ll be in real tough competition. We just hope she tries hard and comes back OK.”

So while RTM Say Your Prayers was Susan’s first homebred, she wasn’t the last.

“I had so much fun breeding her that the next year we kind of went crazy and bred three of the mares.”

The foals include RTM Philbin Rd, whom Susan bred and races in partnership with daughter Theresa, and who this summer won the Idaho Cup Derby (R).

RTM Say Your Prayers is a big mare who, Susan says, “has never missed a meal.” From 29 starts, she has won six, with seven second places and three third place finishes. She has earned $31,436. The mare is at Prairie Meadows preparing for her first try in a Grade 1.

“She’s a handful,” Susan says of her family’s gray mare. “She’s definitely feeling good, she’s certainly happy.”

The 20th Bank of America Challenge Championships are October 27 at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Watch the festivities live on Q-Racing Video at and stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at