Q-Racing Blog: Taking on the Challenge

Veterans head into the Challenge Championships.

Quarter Racing Journal

Veterans head into the Challenge Championships.

Two of the horses Rockin J Running Horses and trainer Tammy Johnson plan to send to this year’s Bank of America Challenge Championships have a combined 103 starts and total earnings of $509,904.

Each of the horses – Rockin Disco and CJs Rocksolid – are 7-year-olds (foaled 20 days apart) and running in the Challenge Championships is part of their annual racing calendar. It is the fourth year that Rockin Disco has competed and CJs Rocksolid will be making his third appearance at the Challenge Championships.

The Bank of America Challenge Championships are Saturday, October 14, at Prairie Meadows.

The events start on Wednesday, with the post-position draw. Then there are meetings on Thursday and Friday. If you go, attend the meetings. You can see friends and expand your network. It can only help your racehorse operation.

On Thursday is an affiliate meeting – open to all AQHA racing affiliates – and then the AQHA Racing Committee convenes on Friday.

On Friday, there is a welcome reception at 5 p.m. and racing begins at Prairie Meadows at 6 p.m.

Championship Saturday starts with an Owners Recognition Brunch at 10 a.m. Racing starts at 6 p.m.

The Bank of America Challenge Championship races will open with the $105,000-guaranteed AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1), followed by the $180,000-guaranteed Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3), $130,000-guaranteed John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2), $105,000-guaranteed Boehringer Ingelheim Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) and $330,000-guaranteed Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1).

“I really like the Challenge program,” said Johnson. “It’s an affordable program. You don’t have to pay into a race too far in advance. That’s a strong point.” Johnson has been competing in the Challenge program for nearly 20 years.

Also on the card are the $110,000 (est.) Polk County Derby, $175,000 (est.) Jim Bader Futurity, $120,000 (est.) Altoona Derby and the $270,000 (est.) Valley Junction Futurity.

That’s a power-packed night of racing.

Rockin Disco and CJs Rocksolid will provide their share of power.

Rockin Disco is going in the Bank of America Challenge Championship, while distance specialist CJs Rocksolid races in the AQHA Distance Challenge Championship. Expect these two geldings by Rock Solid Jess to run like veterans – no mistakes and they make the competition beat them to the wire.

A second-place run in the $114,480 Remington Championship Challenge (G2) at 440 yards gained Rockin Disco a spot in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

“He loves Remington Park. He ran there and qualified there,” said Johnson. “We’ll run him in the Challenge and then turn him out.

“We don’t run him a whole lot. He likes to run and we’re having fun with him.”

CJs Rocksolid will probably be the shorter price of the two geldings. He won the $57,330 Remington Park Distance Challenge to earn his place in the AQHA Distance Challenge Championship. Plus, he comes into the AQHA Distance Challenge Championship off a recent run that should put him in peak form.

Sent off as the 7-5 choice in an 870-yard open allowance race at Lone Star Park, CJs Rocksolid made a three-wide move and gained second place. “He didn’t get out of the gate,” said Johnson. “But, we got a race in him.”

Rockin Disco and CJs Rocksolid are prime examples of one of the original goals of the Challenge program – providing racing opportunities for older horses.

Joining Rockin Disco as a four-time competitor is one of the likely favorites for the Bank of America Challenge Championship, AJs High, and fellow Championship competitor Sign Of Corona will be making his third appearance.

The two veteran “Rockin” geldings alone will be racing for $435,000 on the Challenge Championship night program at Prairie Meadows. That opportunity would make any horseman smile.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.