|DM Shicago Slight Favorite for Saturday's MBNA America Challenge Championship at LSP
(November 8, 2006) - Reigning World Champion DM Shicago
is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000
MBNA America Challenge Championship, the featured event of the 14th
MBNA America Challenge Championships at Lone Star Park in Grand
Prairie, Texas. The 4-year-old Separatist gelding, who won the All
American Futurity in 2004 and has earned more than $1.8 million,
will break from post position No. 6 in the 11-horse race.
DM Shicago, who finished third and fourth behind This Snow Is Cold
in regional Challenge races in Oklahoma and Texas, respectively,
earned a start in the Challenge Championship as the Oklahoma region
representative following the defections of horses that finished
ahead of him in that event. This Snow Is Cold will represent the
“If you laid odds on him two weeks ago, when we ran him in
that allowance race, they were probably 50-1 that he could get in,”
said Heath Taylor, who trains DM Shicago for Jim and Marilyn Helzer.
On Oct. 26 at Lone Star, the gelding won a 350-yard allowance/optional
claiming race by 1 ½ lengths to score his first win in five
starts this year. After that race, Taylor said he planned to send
DM Shicago to Zia Park for the $60,000 Lovington Stakes on Nov.
“I skipped it – I don’t know why – just
for the hope that somehow, someway he’d end up getting in
(the Challenge Championship),” Taylor said.
“I’m a little bit humbled by the favoritism –
maybe on his past class,” Taylor added. “We’re
very grateful that he’s in there. We’ve got a lot of
respect for the other horses, and hopefully he’ll run the
kind of race he’s capable of.”
The 3-1 second choice for the Challenge Championship is LDS Dash
For Dylan, who won the Northwest region race at Les Bois Park and
is coming off three impressive races at Los Alamitos, where he has
two thirds and a second in Grade 1 and Grade 2 company. Last year,
the Dashing Cleat gelding won the Bayer Legend Derby Challenge Championship
at Los Alamitos.
Every starter in the Challenge Championship will carry 126 pounds.
The field, in post position order with jockeys and morning-line
odds, are: A Long Goodbye, Esgar Ramirez, 6-1; Surprisingly Special,
Jim Brooks, 20-1; Winners Eyes, Alvin Brossette, 20-1; Mogambo Fly
VM, Russel Hadley, 20-1; Valdasher, Rodger Smith, 15-1; DM Shicago,
Juan Vazquez, 5-2; Budj, Ramon Sanchez, 8-1; LDS Dash For Dylan,
G.R. Carter Jr., 3-1; WRS Special Shoe, Randy Wilson, 12-1; This
Snow Is Cold, Rodrigo Vallejo, 9-2; and Dashin Prince Henry, Jose
DOWN THE STRETCH –
The first of 12 live races on Saturday at Lone Star Park is 6:35
p.m. CT. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m . . .
Saturday’s entire program is comprised of stakes races. Cumulatively,
the races are worth $1,076,500 . . .
TVG Network will provide exclusive live coverage of Saturday’s
12-race MBNA America Challenge Championships Night program from
Lone Star. Anchoring the live broadcast from the Lone Star Park
winner’s circle will be Mike Joyce, Chris Kotulak and Dave
Weaver. TVG is also planning a MBNA America Challenge Championships
preview show that will air Friday from 8-9 p.m. CT . . .
The race schedule: Race 1, $25,000 Nutrena Stakes (6:35 p.m. CT);
Race 2, $25,000 AQHRJ Stakes (7:02 p.m. CT); Race 3, $25,000 Sooner
Trailer Stakes (7:29 p.m. CT); Race 4, $25,000 Farnam Stakes (7:56
p.m. CT); Race 5, $75,000 Professional’s Choice Challenge
Championship (8:23 p.m. CT); Race 6, Grade 2, $150,000 Ford Juvenile
Challenge Championship (8:50 p.m. CT); Race 7, Grade 1, $100,000
Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship (9:17 p.m. CT); Race 8,
Grade 1, $200,000 Bayer Legend Derby Challenge Championship (9:44
p.m. CT); Race 9, Grade 1, $100,000 John Deere Distaff Challenge
Championship (10:11 p.m. CT); Race 10, Grade 1, $301,500 MBNA America
Challenge Championship (10:38 p.m. CT); Race 11, $25,000 AQHA Members
Plus Stakes (11:05 p.m. CT); and Race 12, $25,000 Los Alamitos Stakes
(11:32 p.m. CT) . . .
Races 1-11 on Saturday will be simulcast to the New York City OTB
Network, according to simulcast coordinator Mindy Freeland . . .
Additional entertainment on Saturday includes country music by
Scott Whitaker in the Courtyard of Champions from 7-11 p.m. . .
Mystery mutuel vouchers redeemable on Saturday’s MBNA America
Challenge Championships Night were mailed to 81,000 households in
the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The vouchers are worth from $2 to $10,000
. . .
This will mark the fourth time that Lone Star Park has hosted the
Challenge Championships. It was last held locally in 2002 before
a crowd of 7,300 where more than $1.1 million was wagered on-track.
Another $1.1 million was bet at simulcast locations throughout North
America . . .
Three stakes races highlight Friday night’s 11-race card
at Lone Star: the $20,000 JEH Stallion Station Handicap (3-year-olds
and up at 550 yards); the $15,030 AQHA Youth Claiming Stakes (3-year-olds
and up at 350 yards); and the world’s shortest stakes race
– the $15,000 Gridiron Gallop Handicap (3-year-olds and up
at 100 yards) . . .
Jethro Pugh, the former NFL defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys
(1965-78), will be on hand Friday to present the trophy to the winners
of the Gridiron Gallop . . .
-- By Amy Owens with additional reporting by Darren Rogers