Challenge: Frequent Feature

Im A Feature Girl is a Challenge Championship veteran.

Q-Racing Journal

Im A Feature Girl is a Challenge Championship veteran. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

There are seven horses entered in the Bank of America Challenge Championships that have multiple-Challenge Championship experiences on their resumes, including three of last year’s winners (Vodka With Ice, Raising Kain and Honoroso), but only two have been to three of the events. Those two are distaffers Shez Jess Toxic (2011, 2013 and 2014) and Im A Feature Girl (2012-2014).

Jorge Haddad’s Im A Feature Girl is set to load up in the $100,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) and looking to improve on her previous tries in the prestigious race. In 2012’s edition at Prairie Meadows, she was fifth behind champion Fredaville and last year she was fourth behind champion Check N Fetch.

The 5-year-old mare was bred by the Jumonville family of Ventress, Louisiana, and is by Feature Mr Jess out of the Special Effort mare This Girl Is Special. Haddad purchased the filly at the 2010 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Her sire, Feature Mr Jess, is one of the sport’s leading sires, with progeny earnings of more than $24.1 million. Among his runners are world champion and All American Futurity (G1) winner Heartswideopen ($1,885,283) and champions Jess You And I ($1,851,691), Feature Mr Bojangles ($899,434), Stylish Jess BR ($804,298) and Brenda Beautiful ($337,176).

Dam This Girl Is Special is an unraced daughter of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Special Effort and the blue hen mare The Louisiana Girl. This Girl Is Special is also the dam of Thisfeatureisspecial ($190,758), who last year was second in the Merial Distaff Challenge Championship, and stakes-placed runner Eyein The Feature ($125,913).

Haddad took his time getting Im A Feature Girl rolling in her racing career, as he gave her only three starts as a 2-year-old. She came back strong as a sophomore and would win or place in seven of 10 starts. Last year, she would race in almost exclusively stakes (except for one stakes trial), almost always lighting the board.

She opened up this year with a fourth-place run in the $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap (G2) and, in April, won the $29,160 Merial Sam Houston Distaff Challenge, defeating fellow Championship finalists Stoli Angel and Shez Jess Toxic. In June she was second in the Selma Stakes and most recently fourth in the Hill Country Dash Bonus Challenge.

To date, she has won or placed in 11 of 26 starts and earned $79,331.

Rested since July, she will break from Post 7 in the $100,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship on Saturday, the seventh race on the card.

After this race, Haddad is considering her future path. While she might race again, with her strong pedigree and race record backing her up, he is also considering her future as a broodmare.

Haddad stands the stallions Giorgino and The Louisiana Cartel on his Haddad Ranch at Seguin, Texas. Giorgino, a son of Apollo (TB) out of the First Down Dash mare Las Alamitos, won or placed in 16 of 28 starts and earned $324,004. A three-time stakes winner, he also contested the 2012 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), and might be considered as a good cross to produce a future Challenge contender.

The Bank of America Challenge Championships are October 18 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at www.aqharacing.com