Challenge: Gimmie A Kiss

Million Dollar Kiss is ready for the Challenge Championships limelight.

Q-Racing Journal

The wildly colored Million Dollar Kiss has plenty of speed. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Stakes winners are not an easy thing to come by in the racing industry. Having a homebred stakes winner is even more precious, and Jerry Chapman is appreciating every minute with his homebred contender Million Dollar Kiss. The Waco, Texas, resident will be at Prairie Meadows this weekend to watch his homebred filly contest the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) on Saturday night.

“It’s fun to have a horse to run in a race like this,” Chapman said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it’s so hard to find a stakes winner. You see people that get in the business, buy two and both of them are runners! I’ve been buying and raising horses for 35 years, and she’s about as good as I’ve had. Just shows you how hard it is to find a runner.”

Chapman grew up around horses, and got involved in racing in the 1980s. He bought Million Dollar Kiss’ dam, Stoli Kiss, as a yearling at the 2004 Heritage Place Yearling Sale. The mare has a solid pedigree from top to bottom, as her sire is champion and champion sire Stoli, and her dam is a half-sister to champion and major producer Black Sable ($271,592). Stoli Kiss would make 15 career starts, and lit the board in 10 of those races. She would earn $14,525 before retiring.

“We raced her as a 2-year-old, and she done pretty good,” Chapman said. “Her best speed index wasn’t but an 88, but she won a few races for us. Had some knee problems or she probably would’ve won more. She was really a nice mare.”

She headed into her new career as a broodmare, producing race winners and Register of Merit-earners Shy Episode (by Dashs Last Episode) and Xtra Cash (by Onthewingsofglory).

On the advice of J.E. Jumonville, Chapman decided to try crossing his Stoli mare with champion Jess Louisiana Blue, who from nine crops to race has sired the earners of more than $10 million and has had nicking success with Stoli mares. 

Chapman crossed the nearly-black stallion on his nearly-black mare, and was shocked when he caught his first glimpse of the newborn result.

“She is a really bright sorrel roan,” he said. “I looked at her and thought, ‘Uh oh, there’s been a mistake!’ ”

But his wildly bright filly was no mistake, and while her coat was quite different from her family’s, her speed was quite the same.

Million Dollar Kiss has won three of her five starts, with earnings of $36,636.

She made her career debut in March at Louisiana Downs, then returned a few weeks later to break her maiden in style at Sam Houston Race Park, dominating the 300-yard race by nearly three lengths. She stretched out to 350 in the John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge trials, and again drew clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She returned in the May 11 final that was worth $68,490, and dueled gamely to win by a neck over Freakin Runaway. Her most recent start was in June, when she made a bid in her Firecracker Futurity (G2) trial at Delta, finishing fourth.

She will head into the Juvenile off a freshening, but has been preparing at Prairie Meadows for several weeks.

As for Stoli Kiss, after she had her 2013 foal, named Morning Glory (by Onthewingsofglory), Chapman had to make a business decision.

“It’s kind of funny, I decided to sell some mares, I had too many,” Chapman said. “I sold (Stoli Kiss) to a lady in Indiana right before Million Dollar Kiss started racing. That’s the way it goes. (The new owner) is just thrilled to death to own her. She’s the kind of people you like to sell horses to; the mare went to a good home. And hopefully Million Dollar Kiss will replace her for me.”

He describes his young filly as a sweet-tempered horse around the barn, but one that knows her job on the racetrack. After this race, Chapman says he’s hoping to bring her back to the farm to rest and recover for a potential sophomore campaign, and maybe even breed her.

“Million Dollar Kiss is just such a nice mare,” he said. “I don’t know what kind of mare we got, guess we’ll find out after the Championship race. We’re going just to have a good time. We don’t know how we’re gonna run, but we’re looking forward to going to Iowa. It’s fun to have a horse to run in a race like this.”

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.