Q-Racing Blog: The Best Ever?
Q-Racing Blog: The Best Ever?
By Ty Wyant
There are always discussions about the best ever. It is a favorite hobby for all of us, certainly not limited to horse racing. It applies to all sports. The best-ever baseball team or football team. But we’re here to talk about American Quarter Horse racing, so it’s time to apply it to our horses and our racing.
We could have the best ever – or certainly one the best – runnings of the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) this year, set to run on December 10.
There have been many exceptional runnings, with the 1987 edition standing out in my mind when world champion First Down Dash, world champion Gold Coast Express and champion Florentine ran one-two-three. However, what was the quality of the field behind those three champions? It was not as deep as this year’s Champion of Champions.
This year’s runners and their earnings are Danjer ($1,967,068), Apollitical Pence ($1,634,235), Bomb Cyclone ($1,326,791), Empressum ($1,245,025), Powerful Favorite ($1,210,000), Apollitical Candy V ($799,613), Cattail Cove ($582,682), Pattys Saint ($204,456), Jessapollitical Girl ($178,035) and Sweet Dasha Fire ($164,565).
If you don’t want to take my word for it, consider that Los Alamitos’ morning line oddsmaker, and longtime (now-retired) race caller Ed Burgart, tweeted on November 7, “I was fortunate to call 39 Champion of Champions, but Michael Wrona will announce the strongest field ever IMO (in my opinion) for the 440-yard race 12/10.”
Here are some quick facts about this year’s Champion of Champions:
- The total earnings of this field is $9,312,470.
- To reach this lofty total, it would be expected to contain winners of seven-figure futurities. However, Bomb Cyclone is the only one. He won the $2,036,825 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) and earned $844,127 for that win.
- As illustrated above, half of the horses in the 10-horse field have earned at least $1 million.
- Every horse in this year’s Champion of Champions is a graded stakes winner.
- Apollitical Pence attempts to become the second Champion of Champions winner for three consecutive years. Refrigerator won in 1992 through 1994.
- Apollitical Pence is five-for-five this year with Grade 1 wins in the Brad McKinzie Winter Championship and the Robert. L Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.
- The full brothers Powerful Favorite and Bomb Cyclone will compete for trainer Chris O’Dell. They are by Favorite Cartel and out of Remember Me Rose. (Their younger brother Cyber Attack is the fastest qualifier to the $1,884,225 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1), set for December 11).
- It will be the final race for Powerful Favorite.
- Speaking of siblings, Sweet Dasha Fire’s full brother, Heza Dasha Fire, won this race in 2015.
- Another sibling connection: Empressum's All American Futurity (G1)-winning half-brother, Hes Judgeandjury, will also contest the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Both are out of the First Down Dash mare Crazy Down Corona.
- The field has a total of 19 Grade 1 wins. Danjer has nine of those wins, including three this year.
- The field has 13 Grade 1 stakes wins this year.
- The field has a total of 45 graded stakes wins. Danjer has 14 graded stakes wins.
What a race. Burgart has his work cut out for him in setting the morning line odds. It is certain that there will not be an odds-on favorite and quite possible that the favorite will be above 2-1 odds.
This will be the 50th running of the Champion of Champions on December 10. It is a historic race fit for this historic marker. If it is not the best running, it will be close with the depth of this field.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter and on Instagram, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.