Challenge Championships: The Full Monty

Monty Arrossa has a busy night on tap for Saturday.

Quarter Racing Journal

Monty Arrossa with First Prize Chicks. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Monty Arrossa has been a busy this season at Los Alamitos. On Sunday evening, the 44-year-old horseman from Jerome, Idaho, sent out three starters in the Wild West Futurity, including the winner, Denny and Sandy Weigt’s Maknmoves gelding Bannister. Arrossa will have his hands especially full this coming Saturday night, when he has eight starters in five races during the Bank of America Challenge Championships.

Arrossa will send out the sorrel filly Paint A Candy Storm (Red Storm Cat-Send Me Candy Paint by PYC Paint Your Wagon) in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2); and the gray 3-year-old filly Kissin Kate Barlow (TR Dasher-Apollos Winner by Apollo (TB)) in the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1).

On the undercard, he has the 3-year-old chestnut gelding Zoomin For Spuds (Zoomin For Bux-A Perfect Cocktail by Corona Cocktail) and the 3-year-old bay gelding Katies Easy Moves (Maknmoves- Katie Lane Finder by Lanes Leinster), both in the $25,000 Wrangler Stakes; and the 2-year-old bay filly Duck Dash N Go (Coronas Fast Dash-Duck Mea Running by Tour De Kas) in the $25,000 B&W Stakes.

Arrossa will be at his busiest in the paddock for the $75,000 Markel Invitational Bonus Challenge, when he will saddle three starters: the 5-year-old black gelding Time For Jesse Lee (Mr Jesse Lee- Time For Noble by Mescallero Chick), the 4-year-old gray mare DK The Nacho Lady (Separatist-A Special First by Real Runaway) and the 3-year-old sorrel filly First Prize Chicks (Spit Curl Jess-First Prize Chic by Country Chicks Man).

Whew. That’s a bunch. We’ve only got time and space here for one, so how about, well, First Prize Chicks?

“She’s a good one,” Arrossa says of the filly that won the September 30 Kip Didericksen Handicap. “She’s owned by Five Livestock out of Filer, Idaho. That’s Matt Telford and Dr. Melinda Roche, who’s my vet in Idaho, and she’s their first racehorse. Dr. Roche was helping us out with our horses and working on our horses, and she decided she wanted a racehorse. So Matt bought this horse at the Heritage Place sale for her birthday.”

First Prize Chicks is one of 18 stakes winners and the earners of more than $5.1 million by Grade 1 winner Spit Curl Jess. A full sister to the stakes-winning colt Chics Love Curls ($30,926), the filly is one of three winners from three starters out of the Country Chicks Man mare First Prize Chic, whose dam, 2006 broodmare of the year First Prize Dash, is a full sister to all-time leading sire First Down Dash.

As a freshman in 2015, First Prize Chicks won three of nine races. Arrossa started her in six races in Washington and Idaho, where she ran in the Pot O’ Gold and Oneida County Fair futurities. He then took her to Los Alamitos, where she won her trial to the Wild West Futurity but finished back in the final.

“She ran well as a 2-year-old,” he says. “Maybe not as well as we’d like, but she did OK.”

Arrossa took First Prize Chicks to Utah this year, where she started her 3-year-old season in the Laurel Brown Derby, and then back to Idaho, where she contested the Bitterroot Derby (R) and the Oneida County Fair Bonus Challenge. Then he brought her again to Los Alamitos.

“She ran alright back home,” he says. “We shipped her down her and she ran fifth in her first out (in allowance company on September 16) and then she won the Kip Didericksen.”

An earner of $21,988, First Prize Chicks comes into the Markel Bonus Challenge with a record of 16 – 4 (1) – 2 – 2.

“I like her drive,” Arrossa says. “First Prize Chicks loves to run. She’s aggressive, she likes to go out there and she puts her heart on the line every time. She’s a little filly but she’s got a huge heart.

“So she’s been a fun filly, and I’m real excited for Matt and Melinda,” Arrossa says. “Now they’ve bought two 2-year-olds for this year. One of them qualified for the Wild West (Stellur, who finished fifth in Bannister’s final). They’re new owners in the industry, just getting started. They’re looking at doing some breeding and buying another yearling this year. They’re wonderful people and they’re an asset to the industry. They’re the kind of people we need.”

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