Prairie Meadows hosts a huge day of racing this Saturday with qualifying races for the Bank of America Challenge Championships. The finals for the event will be held this year for the first time at Prairie Meadows on October 27. This racing series is the quarter horse equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup with the best of the breed vying for six divisional titles.
There will be a qualifier held for each of the six divisions this Saturday with the winner of each race being awarded a spot in the Championship Final. Qualifiers are held all across the United States and other parts of North and South America throughout the year with winners qualifying from tracks as far away as Brazil. For more information on the Challenge Championships, check out the website.
Numerous Canterbury Park runners have made their way south for the qualifying races, here’s a look at some of the local hopefuls including 2012 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse of the Meet Huckleberry Mojito (pictured above).
Race 4: The Distaff Challenge
#1 Believer’s Gathering (2-1), runner-up to Huckleberry Mojito in the Fillies Race for Hope Stakes on August 4th is the morning line for the Distaff. She ran a big third last time out behind Cruzin the Wagon, 2011 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse of the Meet.
#2 Paint or More (6-1), winner of the 2011 NCQHRA Futurity and all three of her 2011 starts at Canterbury in 2011 had a tough year to this point. She ran behind Huckleberry Mojito in all three of her races at Canterbury this year and was beaten by Believer’s Gathering by 2 lengths in their lone meeting.
#3 Streakin Rare (3-1) was another that ran in the Fillies for Hope Stakes on August 4th. She ran fourth beaten a length by Believer’s Gathering and one to the better of Paint or More.
#4 Rumba Casino (5-1) rounds out the local hopefuls in the Distaff. She put in two dull efforts at Canterbury this summer losing an allowance by more than three lengths and finishing last of the contenders here in the Fillies Race for Hope Stakes.
Race 5: The Starter Allowance
#5 Whiz Happens (15-1) struggled at Canterbury this summer only hitting the ticket once and never finishing better than sixth in his other efforts. Outsider.
#7 Jess Choo and Me (8-1) won a restricted $10k claimer and ran fifth in the 100-yard dash on Extreme Day but appears to be a cut below the best.
#8 Sweet and Sour Uno (15-1) had two fifths and a seventh this summer at Canterbury. Would be a surprise.
#10 Toast to Invictus (8-1) put in three solid efforts this summer for Amber Blair recording two wins and a third against softer company. Luark is aboard.
#11 Summit Bid (10-1) may have the best chance of the locals as this guy put in two solid seconds behind stakes runners at Canterbury this summer. Won the Challenge race for the Bank of America Derby at Canterbury Park in 2010 so he’s run big in these races before. Top North American quarter horse rider G.R. Carter will have the call.
Race 6: The Distance Challenge
#4 Colosso (6-1) hails from the barn of Jerry Livingston and made his debut around the hook last time running a solid second in one of the trials for this race. That was from the rail and draws the four hole tonight. More work cut out for him here. Jordan, Minn. native Marcus Swiontek has the call.
#7 Jess Another Reb (6-1) shipped into Canterbury and ran a good second to hook horse extraordinaire Dangerous Guns after being left at the break. Luark has the call today but he may have last all chance at the draw. The seven post will be a challenge.
Race 7: The Derby Challenge
#1 Mr Corona Blue (6-1) stopped in Shakopee for one start before the Prairie Meadows meet and it didn’t go very well finishing sixth in a field of eight. Tom Wellington will be aboard.
#5 Huckleberry Mojito (3-1), the 2012 Canterbury Park Quarter Horse of the Meet, was dominant in winning all three of her races this summer at Canterbury. This Ed Ross Hardy trainee has really turned it on as a three-year-old and she’s the morning line favorite for the Derby. Vazquez takes the call replacing Goodwin, her regular rider in Minnesota.
#7 Painted Lies (5-1) also put together a three-race win streak this summer at Canterbury before having her’s derailed by Mojito. Amber Blair’s runner is certainly taking down Mojito if Huckleberry encounters any trouble. It’s all about getting a clean trip!
Race 8: The Juvenile Challenge
#1 Girls Don’t Seis (12-1) ran second in a futurity trial at Canterbury on July 22 after a smashing maiden-breaking victory at Boise. In tough against these.
#2 Cats Meow Too (15-1) won a maiden race on August 3rd at Canterbury but was subsequently disqualified. Won her trial race for this but in a rather unimpressive time.
#6 Hastabealeader (8-1) ran a first, second and third in three futurities this summer in Shakopee earning over $25,000. Another that needs to see his time improve over the trial by over three tenths of a second.
#10 Outlaw Memories (8-1) is undefeated in three starts with wins at Canterbury, Fargo and Prairie Meadows. Best trial time of the local contingent but has never dealt with the outside post in his three race career, will need a straight trip but not without a chance.
Race 9: The Championship Challenge
#2 Where’s Your Wagon (15-1) finished second in the Skip Zimmerman Stakes as the favorite behind Hollywood Trickster in May and then came back to cruise to an easy allowance victory on August 3rd. The water is far deeper here and this is by far the toughest race of his career.
#7 Paintyourownwagon (12-1) won an allowance in June and then ran behind Hollywood Trickster in the July 3 Great Lakes Stakes at tonight’s championship distance of 440-yards. Wellington has the call.
These two will have their work cut out for them as they both go up against one of the best in America in Llano Teller, winner of 11 of 22 lifetime races and over $1.67 million in earnings throughout his racing career.
Don’t miss out on this great racing action this Saturday from Prairie Meadows. First post on the ten race program is 6:30PM. Watch and wager at Canterbury Park!