Bank of America Racing Challenge Returns to Los Alamitos

The track will offer a 10-race, all-stakes program on Saturday.

Edited press release

Brian and Dana Stroud's JRC Callas First, the sport's 2014 world champion, heads a field of 12 in Saturday's Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Dana and Brian Stroud’s JRC Callas First, the sport's world champion two years ago, will make his Los Alamitos debut when he takes on a field headed by Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1) runner-up BH Lisas Boy in Saturday's 440-yard, $350,000 Bank of America Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos. First post time is 6 p.m. (PDT).

The Bank of America Championship will headline a 10-race, all-stakes Quarter Horse program as part of the $1 million AQHA Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships. The card will feature three Grade 1 races, two other stakes races and many of the nation’s top sprinters. The winner of the Bank of America Championship will earn a berth to the 440-yard, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 10.

The Bank of America Championship is also slated as the 10th and final race on the card and it will serve as the opening leg of the special Los Alamitos Big Money Double to be held over two nights this weekend. The second leg of the Big Money Double will be Sunday’s Golden State Million Futurity (G1).

JRC Callas First was named the AQHA World Champion two years ago after winning eight of 10 starts including the Zia Park Championship and the Refrigerator Handicap. He won four of six starts in 2015 while successfully defending his Zia Park Championship title while also winning the Albuquerque Fall Championship. And while he did not repeat as world champion, he still enjoyed a successful campaign with earnings of $252,017.

To be ridden by Francisco Calderon, JRC Callas First will come into Saturday’s Championship looking for his 18th win in 31 career starts. He’ll also try to snap a three-race losing streak, as his last victory came in the Sam Houston Challenge Championship in April. The impressive campaigner will look to earn his first ever berth to the Champion of Champions with a victory on Saturday night.

Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy is the 6-5 morning line favorite in this race after winning the 440-yard California Challenge Championship and then making a strong late run when second to reigning World Champion Heza Dasha Fire in the Los Alamitos Invitational.

BH Lisas Boy is also no stranger to the bright lights of the Bank of America Championship. The Idaho-bred by Mighty Invictus ran in the Championship last year at Lone Star Park and he delivered  a solid fifth place finish despite being bumped hard at the start. He’ll come into this race having won 10 of 19 starts and earnings over $182,000 in his career. Jesus Rios Ayala will pilot BH Lisas Boy from post number 12.

Starting from post number 10 in this race will be Michael C. Teel’s AJs High, a winner of four of six starts this season. The gelding by Apollitical Jess won the Canterbury Championship to earn a spot in this race and hi only two losses have come in his last two starts. He was a three-time winner at Remington Park during the Spring.

Other top contenders in this race include Jess A Cowboy and Ruidoso Derby (G1) winner BF Farm Boss, the second- and third-place finishers to BH Lisas Boy in the California Championship. Cruisinfourabruisin is another one to watch after hitting the board in all eight of his starts this year for trainer Paul Jones.

The 400-yard, $125,000 Merial Distaff and the 870-yard, $125,000 Andreini Distance Challenge are the other two Grade 1 races on tap. The Merial will be headed by 5-2 morning line favorite Maggie Durant for Spackman Racing and Lin Melton. The 3-year-old filly was sixth in her last outing in the Fall For It Handicap, but previously she defeated older mares in the Merial California to earn this spot. She’ll be facing the likes of Flyin Lion, the runner-up in the Merial California, and Portland Meadows Challenge winner Wrap You Up.

The Andreini will showcase the top distance Quarter Horses in the nation, headed by Tommy L. Bullard’s Fire On The Fly, the winner of five of six starts this season. The distance specialist has won three different regional challenge events. The Jet Cartel gelding won at Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park. AQHA Champion Jockey Ricky Ramirez will ride Fire On The Fly, who enters the Andreini with the field’s highest earnings in 2016 of $64,305. He’s earned $211,261 in his 31-race career. Alejandro Arzabala, Jr.’s Streakin Zoomer won the Alburquerque Distance regional and over $53,000 this year. He ran second in The Sunland Park Championship Challenge at 440 yards earlier this year.

The Grade 2, $151,250 John Deere Juvenile Challenge will be headed by Ron Hartley’s Kindergarten Futurity winner One Proud Eagle and Mark and Peggy Brown’s John Deere California Juvenile winner Kissed By An Eagle. The latter also won his trial to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity in his last start. Other top runners in this event include Kindergarten Futurity finalists Stelfast and Paint A Candy Storm.

The Grade 3, $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenge will include Chuck Stojan’s winning machine, Toughie, a Stel Corona filly who has won 8 of 10 starts while racing mostly in Canada. Jason Pascoe’s County Boy 123 is another Canadian-based runner in action. He’s won six out of his last seven starts, but the ones to beat are John and Cina Sperry’s La Primera Del Ano Derby winner Jess Good Reason, who also ran second in the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap, and BF Fooserageous, the runner-up in the West Texas Derby.

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