BH Lisas Boy Rallies to Win Bank of America California Challenge

The homebred gelding earns his 11th stakes victory on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

BH Lisas Boy (red cap) catches Hold Air Hostage at the wire to win Saturday's Bank of America California Challenge Stakes. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

BH Lisas Boy, a homebred 6-year-old Mighty Invictus gelding owned and trained by Bill Hoburg, unleashed a strong stretch rally to win Saturday's $49,680 Bank of America California Challenge at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Jesus Ayala from the rail post, BH Lisas Boy covered 440 yards in :21.481 while defeating 2017 champion 3-year-old Hold Air Hostage by a nose. At the halfway point of the race, Hold Air Hostage held a one-length lead over BH Lisas Boy.

The connections of BH Lisas Boy,
including owner and trainer Bill
Hoburg (center), pose in the Los
Alamitos winner's circle. PHOTO:
Los Alamitos Racecourse

“In midstretch I thought we were going to get our you-know-what handed to us,” Hoburg said. “But our horse just kept running at (Hold Air Hostage). I’m really proud of him. He’s a once in a lifetime horse. I just appreciate him every day.

“That (final) 40 yards really makes a difference for this horse,” he added. “At 400 yards we were beaten badly. It was a great finish by my horse.”

BH Lisas Boy was stretching out in distance off of his second-place finish, a nose behind champion Zoomin For Spuds, in the 400-yard, $170,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) on July 8.  The gelding has won three of six starts this season, including the 400-yard, $157,000 Brad McKinzie Winter Championship (G1) in February.

“I sat down this spring and marked an itinerary for this horse,” Hoburg added. “When this race came up, it became one of the races that we wanted him to run. Jesus Ayala was this horse’s regular rider two years ago. When we didn’t qualify to the (2016) Champion of Champions, I turned (BH Lisas Boy) out and I went home to Washington. Ayala got on Zoomin For Spuds after that, and you lose a rider when they ride a Champion of Champions horse.

"With Cesar De Alba out with an injury, Ayala was available to get back on the horse," he added. "We’ll face this horse, Hold Air Hostage, again in the Bank of America Championship final. I wouldn’t give you a wooden nickel that we’ll beat him twice, but we’ll be there and my horse will try.”

BH Lisas Boy has won 19 of his 33 starts, including 10 of 18 at Los Alamitos. The $23,846 winner's share of the purse from Saturday's win pushed his earnings to $582,662 in his career. As the top two finishers in the California regional, both BH Lisas Boy and Hold Air Hostage earned berths to the Grade 1, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on November 17.

Katies Easy Moves finished third, a neck behind Hold Air Hostage, and was followed by Kissed By An Eagle, Flash N Bling, The Charm Of Corona, Arizona Icon, an Joe Legacy.

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