World Champ DM Shicago Back On Track at Lone Star; Challenge Championships Next?

(October 26, 2006) - Defending AQHA World Champion DM Shicago returned to action Thursday night at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas and crushed two rivals with a clocking of :17.462 for 350 yards in a $7,000 allowance/optional claiming race.

Originally a seven-horse field, the field was reduced to three when four runners scratched, including Mogambo Fly VM, who’ll represent South America in the Nov. 11 MBNA America Challenge Championships at Lone Star.

DM Shicago broke alertly from the inside post and rolled home to defeat Sambaso Jet by 1 ½ lengths. Jess Wicked was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third.

“He just beat two but he ran really, really well and this is a step in the right direction,” said Heath Taylor, who trains the $1.8 million-earner for Jim and Marilyn Helzer of Arlington, Texas.

Taylor used Thursday night’s race as a springboard for bigger races down the road.

“It’s not often a World Champion will run for a $7,000 purse, but he needed this prep if he’s about to tackle America’s top 440-yard horses in a Grade 1,” Taylor said.

DM Shicago, the 2004 All American Futurity and ’05 All American Derby champ, was sidelined due to a lingering illness this spring, which Taylor attributed to the gelding’s uncharacteristic five-race winless streak.

“He had a really bad lung infection all spring and we really needed to take our time for it to heal properly,” Taylor said. “We had to change his regiment and adapt to the horse to see how he’d respond. It took time. The good thing is that he’s a really, really sound 4-year-old.

“He tipped me off that he might be back in form with that last workout (:10.89 on Oct. 11 at Lone Star Park) but there’s a big difference between a 220-yard workout in the morning and facing the best 440-yard horses in the country. This was a good steppingstone because :17.46 is fast against two horses or 10.”

Taylor said there was an outside chance that DM Shicago could return in 16 days for the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championships – the richest of 12 stakes events that will comprise Quarter Horse racing’s championship night.

“He finished third in the Oklahoma Challenge and fourth in the Texas Challenge and we’d need horses that finished ahead of him not to come,” Taylor said. “We’ll see how it all shakes down. If not, there’s also the $200,000 Zia Park Championship in New Mexico (on Dec. 10) that gives the winner a berth in the [$400,000] Championship at Sunland Park (on Dec. 30).”

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