Mild Upsets Rule in Turf Paradise Challenge Stakes

Fitz, Rare Ed score stakes wins on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Turf Paradise played host to two Bank of America Racing Challenge regional finals on Sunday.

Sent to post at odds of 6-1 in a field of eight aged sprinters, Yuriana Ramirez's Fitz sprinted to a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's $46,980 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge Stakes.

Fitz covered 440 yards in :21.649 and recorded a 102 speed index while racing against a reported 13-mph head wind. Joseph Belloc Jr. rode the 4-year-old Mr Jess Perry gelding for trainer Rigoberto Guillen.

Fitz was bred in California by Double Bar S Ranch LLC. Raced in California, New Mexico, and Arizona, the gelding has won five of 18 starts, including two stakes, and he has banked $67,122. In addition to earning the $21,611 winner's share of the purse from Sunday's win, Fitz landed a starting berth in this year's 440-yard, $250,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Arizona Icon, a 32-1 longshot, ran second and was followed by Fighter Gone Wild, Jess A Cowboy, fastest qualifier and 4-5 favorite Imperial Eagle, May Be Fantastic SA, Movin The Doe, and I V Gone.

Also on Sunday, Justine Klaiber rode 6-1 longshot Rare Ed to a come-from-behind victory in the 870-yard, $17,460 AQHA Turf Paradise Distance Challenge Stakes.

Prepped by Roddina Barrett for owners Angel Villalobos-Hernandez and Jose Marin, Rare Ed defeated 1-10 favorite Mickey Ward by a neck in :46.405. The 7-year-old gelded son of champion Dean Miracle banked the $9,079 winner's share of the purse and earned a berth in this year's Grade 1 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos.

Rare Ed was bred in Illinois by Ronald H. Martin. The gelding has won seven of 35 races, including the 2016 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos, and he has earned $124,443.

Hes A Bugin, A Mere Icon, and Eyes Blue Byou completed the order of finish.

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