Challenge: Texas Speedway

Daytona B looks to make history in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

Q-Racing Journal

Daytona B looks to make history Saturday night. PHOTO: Q-Racing Journal/Andrea Caudill

On Saturday night, Daytona B will be trying to make history.

Last year’s winner of the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Prairie Meadows returns on Saturday to try to also take the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1). 

If he manages to win, it would make him only the second horse in Challenge history to achieve the Derby-Championship double, and the first to do so in consecutive years. The only horse to achieve the feat to date is world champion Tailor Fit, who won the 1999 edition of the Derby Championship and then came back to win the 2001 Challenge Championship. 

Daytona B is 4-year-old son of legend First Down Dash. Bred in Texas by Bielau Oaks, he is out of the Toast To Dash mare Dashing Pana. He is owned by Gregorio Garza of McAllen, Texas, and has earned $311,353 in his career.  

Making three starts as a freshman, he blossomed as a sophomore. He was a narrow nose behind Mister Big in the Sam Houston Derby (G3), third in the Firecracker Derby, then won the Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge. He came back to win the Championship by three-quarters of a length over Mister Big and Eyesa Famous Eagle, both of whom he will face in the Bank of America Challenge Championship this weekend. 

But he didn’t end there – he headed to Hialeah Park where he was third in the $204,715 Hialeah Maturity, then won the $100,000 Sam Abbey Memorial Invitational Championship. He then went back to Sam Houston, where he gutted out a nose victory in the $105,840 Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G2).

“We decided after Houston it was time to give him a break,” said trainer Rolando Almanza. “He had such a long campaign, we decided to ship him back home and give him time off.”

Daytona B took the summer off to rest and recoup, and resumed training in preparation for the Challenge Championships. 

“He’s doing really good now,” Almanza said. “The only problem when you give a horse time off is, does he have enough air to get down that 440?”

Daytona B posted two works during the Lone Star meet to get him fit and prepped. 

“Mentally, I think he’s there, physically, he’s there,” Almanza said. “I’m happy and proud of him. When he breaks, he’s usually a length ahead of everybody, but with this caliber of horses, he’s gotta get out front and hopefully they won’t be able to catch him. He can’t make any mistakes.”

Almanza will also saddle Undivided Atemption, a son of Tempting Dash bred by Zule Farms LLC and owned by Quency Grant of Hopkins, South Carolina. 

The horse is 3-for-4 this year, with his opening salvo being big wins in the trial and final of the John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge, the latter of which he won by 1 1/4 lengths while drawing away. 

He was supplemented into the All American Futurity (G1) trials, and won his trial impressively by 2 lengths, but did not make the finals. He then contested the Dash For Cash Futurity (G1) trials, running a troubled fifth behind eventual Texas Classic Futurity (G1)-qualifier Ferrari GT. Although he was paid up in the Texas Classic Futurity trials, Undivided Atemption’s connections opted to rest him and point to the Challenge. 

“(We wanted to) give him the extra few weeks to recover,” Almanza said. “He is doing well, and should be tough in the Challenge.” 

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 www.aqharacing.com.

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