Format Set for 2016 Champion of Champions

The winners of eight Grade 1 stakes will earn berths in the December 10, $600,000 stakes at Los Alamitos.

Edited press release

Reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire is one of 28 Champion of Champions winners to eventually be crowned AQHA world champion. The format for this year's Champion of Champions remains unchanged from 2015. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

The race format to the December 10, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) is unchanged from 2015, as eight Grade 1 stakes will offer automatic starting berths to the sport's richest and most prestigious stakes for older horses.

The eight races are: the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which was held on February 14 and won by two-time champion Moonist; the June 4 Remington Park Invitational Championship, the July 3 Vessels Maturity, the September 4 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs, the September 25 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap for distafffers, the October 9 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, the October 29 Bank of America Challenge Championship, and the November 6 Los Alamitos Super Derby.

The final two starting berths will come from the Z.Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on November 13. The horses with the two fastest times in the trials will advance to the Champion of Champions.

The winner of the Champion of Champions will earn $300,000.

If there is a dead heat for first in any of the eight automatic berth races, a shake will determine the Champion of Champions qualifier. If a berth to the Champion of Champions becomes available, the horse that finished in a dead heat would be offered the berth. Regardless of the different scenarios, the Z. Wayne Griffin will always offer a minimum of two berths to the Champion of Champions.

As in recent years, the September 4, $100,000 Go Man Go Stakes (G1) also remains part of the Champion of Champions format. If any horse wins more than one race with an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions, the extra berth will go to the Go Man Go winner, as long as there are no dead heats for first in any of the other qualifying races. If the connections of a horse with a starting berth decline their spot in the Champion of Champions, that berth would also revert to the winner of the Go Man Go, again as long as there are no dead heats in any of the other qualifying races.

Any other available berths would be decided in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials. Horses are eligible to run in the Z. Wayne Griffin if they finish first, second or third in a Grade 1 race, first or second in a Grade 2 race and first in a Grade 3 race. Races for 2-year-olds or races at 870 yards are not considered. In order to collect purse money a horse must actually start in the Champion of Champions and there will be no also eligible list.

The Champion of Champions was first contested at Los Alamitos in 1972, when Mr Jet Moore edged champions Kaweah Bar and Charger Bar. Since then, 28 of its 43 winners have been crowned world champion, including last year's winner Heza Dasha Fire.

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