Challenge: Challenge Sun-Sation

Sensational Dash will take on the boys in the Challenge Championships.

Q-Racing Journal

Sensational Dash winning the Zoetis Sunland Distance Challenge. PHOTO: Coady Photography

It’s a gal against all the guys. The 7-year-old mare Sensational Dash will be the lone female taking on the males in the $150,000 Zoetis Distance Challenge Championship (G1) on Saturday night at Lone Star Park.

No fear. It won’t be an easy task, but she’s proven herself before.

Sensational Dash arrived at Lone Star Park this week in preparation for the Championship race, and will be saddled by Tammy Johnson in the race, which will be her 29th race in a $158,467-earning career.

“She’s a good, solid mare,” said her regular trainer Salvador Soto, adding that she was bred to run. 

The daughter of Streak And Dash was bred by Frank Fazekas of Wilburton, Oklahoma, and is owned by Gerardo Acosta of El Paso. She is out of graded stakes winner Sensational Affair, and is a half-sibling to Grade 1-placed Sailin Daylon ($254,415) and stakes-placed runner Sensational Okey ($15,658). 

Sensational Dash started her racing career at the classic 440-yard distance, but really found her niche as a distance runner.

Sensational Dash peeks out from her Lone Star stall.
PHOTO: Q-Racing Journal/Andrea Caudill.

This spring, she notched a big win in an 870 race at Sunland, and her connections took advantage of a brand new Challenge rule implemented this year. The rule says that in addition to the existing $2,500 late payment option (that is due at time of sustaining payment), owners can also pay a $5,000 late payment at the time of entry for trials, regardless of whether trials are actually conducted.

They paid her into the Sunland Park Distance Challenge (G3), and she responded with a big victory to qualify to the Distance Challenge Championship. 

“She was the only girl facing the boys, she’s a tough one,” Soto said. 

Now Sensational Dash comes to Lone Star to attempt to repeat that trick. 

“She’s nice to handle, sweet,” Soto said. “Anybody that trains would like to have a horse like her. She does everything right.”

The Bank of America Challenge Championships are November 7 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at

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