Q-Racing Blog: Last Call

The fields for this year's Bank of America Challenge Championship races will be finalized on October 9.

Q-Racing Journal

A look at the October 9 regional Challenge races at Will Rogers Downs.

It’s time to get the fields set for the five graded stakes held during the October 29 Bank of America Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos.

The final qualifying races — the John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge and the Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge — will be held at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma, on October 9. The winners of these races will join the other horses who won regional qualifying races as the horses with the first preference for their respective championship stakes.

The winner of the John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge qualifies for the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) while the winner of the Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge qualifies for the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3). Also on the Bank of America Challenge Championships program are the $350,000 Bank Of America Challenge Championship (G1) the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G2) and the $125,000 Distance Challenge Championship (G1).

There have been major adjustments to the Bank of America Challenge program. The connections of any horse in the program should understand these changes, which can be viewed here.

First up is the last go-round of regional races at Will Rogers.

In the 350-yard John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge trials, Terry McLean’s First Rate Return not only set the fastest-qualifying time from the four trials, he could step forward in the final. First Rate Return got a tardy start from the gate and quickly moved into contention. The gelding by High Rate Of Return hooked up with Makin Histori Partnership’s Histori, and they each were game to the wire. First Rate Return fought to the nose win in :17.765 while the M. Cody McCart-trained Histori was timed in :17.772.

Trained by Gerry McLean, First Rate Return was making his first start since June 4, when he ran eighth in the $1-million Heritage Place Futurity (G1) at Remington Park. His gritty effort in the trials after a layoff makes him dangerous in the final.

Histori also has upside. The Dominyun filly made just her second career start in the John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge trials and battled with First Rate Return to the wire. In her first start, she had no shot in a Ruidoso Downs’ maiden race back in July at 5-2 odds.

In the Adequan Will Rogers Derby Challenge, Sarah Huskey’s homebred Country Mans Jazz needs to repeat his trial win. The Bono Jazz gelding dominated the two 400-yard trials when he won the first trial by 4 1/4 lengths, and his time of :19.464 in the first trial was easily the fastest-qualifying mark.

Trainer Rick Robinson saddled Country Mans Jazz, and he also sent out second-fastest qualifier Flying Power, who took the other trial. Cuatro Garza Farms LLC’s Flyer Power made her first appearance since May in the Will Rogers Derby Challenge trials and came through with a one-length win. The daughter of Mr Jess Perry stopped the timer in :19.874, well off Country Mans Jazz’s time.

The trial wins were the second career wins for both Country Mans Jazz and Flyer Power. They each won their maidens at first asking as 2-year-olds. Country Man Jazz has six starts while Flyer Power has five outs.

Get these races run at Will Rogers, and we go to the big show.

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