angle-left Q-Racing Blog: The Girls Get Ready

Q-Racing Blog: The Girls Get Ready

There’s an international flavor to the Distaff Challenge this year.

text size

By Ty Wyant

The girls are getting ready to come out and play in the $100,000 ARC Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) during the Bank of America Challenge Championships at Albuquerque Downs on October 26.

There have been four regional ARC distaff races held and there is an international influence with the ARC Hipodromo Distaff Challenge at the Hipodromo De Las Americas in Mexico City starting the regional series back on February 24. There have also been ARC Distaff Challenge stakes run at Sun Downs, Canterbury Park and Ruidoso Downs.

Juan Manuel Baldovinos Mendoza’s Marney Jo raced to the lead from the outside post position in the ARC Hipodromo Distaff Challenge and extended her advantage under a hand ride to win by 1 3/4 lengths. She was timed in :19.502 for the 400 yards.

A well-bred daughter of Corona Cartel and Executive Looks, making her a full sister to Big Lew ($638,878) and champion KVN Corona ($868,077), Marney Jo showed her flexibility in her two starts since that win. She won the Clasico Velocidad over 250 yards and then was second by a head in the Chirina Glorys Stakes at 350 yards.

Since Marney Jo qualified for the ARC Distaff Challenge Championship, the ARC Sun Downs Distaff Challenge, the ARC Canterbury Downs Distaff Challenge and the ARC Ruidoso Downs Distaff Challenge have been held.

Juan Morales’ Favorite Bling started her 2019 campaign in the $22,000 ARC Distaff Sun Downs Challenge on May 12. She dominated her rivals by pulling away to a 3-length win for trainer Jose Rosales Gomez. 

Favorite Bling is still racing in regional Challenge races. In her most recent start on August 4, the Favorite Cartel daughter qualified for the $35,000-added Bank of America Emerald Downs Challenge, which is contested on August 25.

Last year at Sun Downs, Favorite Bling won the $38,000 Adequan Sun Downs Derby Challenge. She then went to Emerald Downs and finished third in the $41,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Challenge. She was fifth in the $150,000 Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Los Alamitos.

Michael Pohl and Stacy Martin’s homebred Curls Happy Wagon is on a roll this year and won the $25,000 ARC Canterbury Park Distaff Challenge as the 4-5 favorite in her latest start. The PYC Paint Your Wagon daughter ran like an odds-on favorite while pulling out to a 2½-length win.

Curls Happy Wagon earned that favoritism after a strong stakes campaign at Remington Park for trainer Stacy Charette-Hill. The mare won the $63,750 Decketta Stakes (G3), was a close second in the $72,000 Easy Date Stakes and then a competitive third in the $106,400 Junos Request Stakes (G2).

The international flavor continues with Mauro Zaborowsky’s homebred Yashira Vista, a Brazilian-bred mare who successfully dealt with a sloppy track to score a three-quarter-length win in the $26,900 ARC Ruidoso Downs Distaff Challenge. The One Famous Eagle daughter got off to a sharp start and was never threatened on her way to the win.

Yashira Vista started her Ruidoso Downs’ campaign this summer with a third-place run in the $25,000 Dash For Speed Stakes and then was second in an allowance race that had five ARC Ruidoso Downs Distaff Challenge competitors.

Zaborowsky was given the John Andreini Special Recognition Award last year, and continues to test his graded stakes-level homebred mare in the United States.

Looks like the ARC Distaff Challenge Championship will have quality and depth.

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