Q-Racing Blog: It's Here!

It's Challenge Championship time.

It's Challenge Championship time.

Think back to about a week before the recent election. Think back to a time when the pundits were guessing about races, backed by a poll from a firm you can’t now recall. That’s like where we are at now before entries to the $250,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on November 17 at Los Alamitos.

Entries will be taken on Wednesday, November 14, for all the Bank of America Challenge Championship races. That’s when the lineup will be finalized for the 440-yard race that gives the winner a berth in the to the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 15.

I’ll play pundit with limited and too soon information. Like the pundits, I can’t resist. Remember, all horses mentioned are still possible or probable.

Home track advantage goes to the Bill Hoburg-owned and -trained BH Lisas Boy and Darling Farms’ Hold Air Hostage, trained by Jaime Gomez. They shape up as the horses to beat.

BH Lisas Boy comes off a throw-out race in the $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) when he was eighth. This year, the Mighty Invictus gelding won the $157,250 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and the $49,680 Bank of America Los Alamitos Challenge (G3) with a close second — beaten a nose — in the $170,500 Vessels Maturity (G1).

Hold Air Hostage, a gelding by Apollitical Jess, was second by a nose to BH Lisas Boy in the Bank of America Los Alamitos Challenge and third in in the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) as the odds-on favorite. He also ran a lackluster race in the Los Alamitos Championship, finishing fifth. Earlier this year, he won the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1) and was second to two-time world champion Jessies First Down in the $269,265 Remington Park Championship (G1).

 Last year’s champion 3-year-old, Hold Air Hostage won the $1,365,908 All American Derby (G1), $1,150,000 Rainbow Derby (G1) and the $297,200 Heritage Place Derby (G2) to take the title.

Las Vegas Ranch’s homebred Arizona Icon, a gelding by Texas Icon, was second in the $46,000 Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge and then traveled to Los Alamitos to win a 550-yard allowance race as the favorite for trainer Matt Fales.

Bout Tree Fiddy, owned by trainer Pat Swan with Rusty Allred, makes his Los Alamitos debut in the Bank of America Los Al Challenge Championship. The Ivory James-sired gelding was third in the $49,000 Bank of America Canterbury Park Challenge and then second by a head in the $17,000 Dash In A Flash Handicap at 110 yards.

Ruben Magallanes’ Corona B Gone won the $41,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Challenge and then shipped to Los Alamitos. The Favorite Cartel-sired gelding was third in the $16,000 John Ward Handicap for trainer Hector Magallanes in his most recent race.

Haras Portofino’s Corona Jumpim MRL, by Corona For Me, traveled from his home in Brazil to Los Alamitos after winning the $213,000 South American Championship Challenge. In his latest start, the Paul Jones-trained gelding a was second in a conditioned allowance race at Los Alamitos.

John Johnson’s Faster Than Hasta, a gelding by Hasta Be Fast, overcame a bump at the start to win the $22,000 Rocky Mountain Challenge at Arapahoe Park. The Bob Johnson-trained gelding raced in the 2016 John Deere Juvenile Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos, finishing fifth.

Kirk Goodfellow’s Flyingforunclesam, winner of the 2017 Rillito Park Derby, is after his first win this year after finishing second in the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and third in the $103,320 Bank of American Sam Houston Challenge (G2). Chris O’Dell trains the gelding by Flyingwitheagles.

 Larry Stark’s homebred Jess A Cowboy comes off a close second-place finish in the John Ward Handicap at Los Alamitos for trainer Fales. The Dejon-sired gelding has been consistent throughout his career with 10 wins, 10 seconds and four thirds from 33 starts. Last year, he won the $60,000 Bank of America Turf Paradise Turf Paradise Challenge.

O-So Smart LLC’s Katies Easy Moves was third behind BH Lisas Boy and Hold Air Hostage in the Bank of American Los Alamitos Challenge and then continued to show his class at 440 yards with a close fourth-place run in the Los Alamitos Championship. The Maknmoves-sired gelding is trained by Monty Arrossa. 

Dean Frey’s homebred Kowboy Jim, trained by Jason Olmstead, earned his way to Los Alamitos with a three-quarter-length win in the $49,000 Bank of America Canterbury Downs Challenge. He raced at the Grade 1 level in his latest start when he was fifth in the $75,000 Refrigerator Handicap (G1) at Lone Star Park.

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