Challenge: Fresh Look

Paul Jones looks for another big win at Prairie Meadows.

Q-Racing Journal

Jake Gold BR has come all the way from Brazil to compete at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

Two years ago, champion trainer Paul Jones celebrated his first trip to Prairie Meadows with the biggest of prizes – a victory in the $353,500 Bank of America Challenge Championships (G1).

The sport’s all-time leading trainer won at last year’s Bank of America Challenge Championships with Check N Fetch, who won the $100,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1).

This year, he returns to Iowa with three contenders.

One of those is Martha Wells’ homebred Hez Stellar, who is entered in the $75,000 Zoetis Starter Allowance Challenge. A bright sorrel gelding by Stel Corona out of the Chicks Beduino mare Chicks Tell, he is a half-brother to Grade 1-placed Forrest Fire (by Walk Thru Fire, $331,256).

Hez Stellar has raced exclusively at Los Alamitos in his 18-race career. This summer, he competed in a $5,000 claiming race, making him eligible for the Starter Allowance Challenge. He finished second in the August 23 Zoetis Los Alamitos Starter Allowance Challenge, and when the winner declined his invitation, Hez Stellar accepted it.

The 4-year-old has won or placed in 11 of 18 starts and earned $29,378. He has been first or second in his four most recent races.

New Look is also owned by Wells, from Orange, California, and earned his berth to the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) with a top effort in the Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3).

The horse defeated a good field, his trainer notes, which included stablemate Jess Featureme Quick ($579,664), Scatmandu ($268,256), Snowboundbeast ($103,411) and Hez Stellar’s brother, Forrest Fire.

New Look is a 5-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire out of the Separatist mare Make Over. He was bred by all-time leading breeder Dr. Ed Allred, and has won or placed in 15 of 30 career starts with earnings of $225,441. His stakes victories also include the 2012 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2), Town Policy Stakes and Dana Point Handicap.

He has had a strong year already, running well against the toughest aged horses Los Alamitos has to offer. In his most recent out, he was third, a half-length off the pace in the Go Man Go Handicap (G1) behind Bon Accord and Last To Fire.

Jones’ third runner earns the medal for “farthest distance traveled”, as he comes to Iowa all the way from Brazil. This is Clodoaldo Miranda’s Jake Gold BR, a strapping gray stallion bred by the late, great Brazilian breeder Gianni Franco Samaja.

Jake Gold BR is a 4-year-old by Gold Medal Jess and out of the Blazen Bryan mare Charlotte Bryan. His dam is a half-sister to champion Good Reason SA ($1,446,727), producer Special Queen SA (dam of Fantastic Corona Jr ($541,896)) and Grade 1 winner Jabuti Eagle SA ($92,041).

Jake Gold BR won the Bank of America South America Championship Challenge over a field that included last year’s winner Italia Gold. With the victory, he secured for himself both the year’s honor as the South American champion and a ticket to the Challenge Championships. He arrived in the United States to prepare for the race, and prepped in a September 28 allowance race at Los Alamitos. He stumbled from the gates, finishing sixth in the 330-yard race.

It was good to have a prep in the United States for the horse, Jones said, allowing the stallion to get some experience with racing in the States.

No matter where the champion trainer travels, Jones is dangerous with his horses, so keep an eye out on Saturday night.

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