By Andrea Caudill
Like mother, like son.
The 6-year-old gelding Three Olives N Smoke will represent his home state of Colorado on Saturday night, as the strapping son of Jess Louisiana Blue looks for the winner’s circle in the Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at the Downs at Albuquerque.
Three Olives N Smoke represents a great tradition for his breeder and co-owner, Margo Schares of Eastlake, Colorado. The horsewoman acquired his second dam, Julies Jem, more than two decades ago. She bred his dam, Smokin Corona, who was foaled in 2000. The daughter of Corona Cartel set a track record at 400 yards and won both the Cherry Creek Futurity (RG3) and the Mile High Derby (G2).
Smokin Corona was saddled by trainer John Hammes, who will also saddle her son on Saturday night.
“(Margo) is a great lady,” says John’s son and assistant trainer, Nick. “She’s bred this family for a long time, and she’s had quite a few runners. I think (Three Olives N Smoke) is one of the nicest ones she’s had, and he looks the most like her, too, I think.”
Other runners bred from Smokin Corona include stakes winners Midori N Smoke (by Special Leader, $91,416) and Smokin Brown Eyes (by Mr Eye Opener, $38,902).
Margo owns Three Olives N Smoke in partnership with Brad Thomas.
The horse has to date won or placed in 15 of 24 career starts and earned $255,151.
In 2017, he was second behind eventual champion The Fiscal Cliff in this race, and continues to grow and strengthen.
He comes into this the race off a big win in the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Championship Challenge (G2).
“He came back from his race really good,” Nick says. “He’s feeling good and should be ready for the race.”
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