|This Snow Is Cold Wins MBNA America Challenge Championships at LSP
(November 12, 2006) - This Snow Is Cold, the lone female
in the field of 11 older American Quarter Horses, broke alertly
from the starting gate and prevailed by a nose in a thrilling three-horse
photo with longshot WRS Special Shoe and LDS Dash for Dylan to win
Saturday’s Grade 1, $301,500 MBNA America Challenge Championship.
The lucrative race capped the 14th MBNA America Challenge Championships
in front of 8,128 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas –
an 11.2% attendance jump from the last time the event was held at
Lone Star in 2002.
This Snow Is Cold, ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo and carrying 126 pounds,
ran 440 yards in :21.669 and paid $7.60, $5.40 and $3.20 as the
5-2 second betting choice. WRS Special Shoe, a nose back, returned
$14.20 and $5.60. LDS Dash For Dylan was another head back in third
and paid $4. Defending AQHA World Champion DM Shicago, the slight
5-2 favorite, finished fourth, a neck back of the third-place finisher.
This Snow Is Cold avenged a runner-up effort to champion Catchmeinyourdreams
in last year’s MBNA America Challenge Championship at Los
Alamitos. Saturday’s triumph was the 10th in 29 starts for
5-year-old This Snow Is Royal mare and was worth $150,000 to owners
Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Company. The Texas-bred trained by
Melinda Garcia has now earned $469,835 and is eligible to compete
in the prestigious Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los
Alamitos on Dec. 9.
“They call it the Challenge and this was challenging the
last couple of months,” Garcia said. “This is so exciting!
We’ll be headed to California in December.”
The MBNA America was the richest of six championship events. Earlier,
Magical Thunder took the Grade 1, $200,000 Bayer Legend Derby. Eye
Caughtcha Peekin won Grade 2, $100,000 John Deere Distaff. Strider
Man prevailed in the Grade 1, $100,000 Red Cell Distance. Remember
Me Rose won the Grade 2, $150,000 Ford Juvenile. Speedy Injun won
the $75,000 Professional’s Choice Claiming.
MAGICAL THUNDER WINS BAYER LEGEND DERBY
Magical Thunder ($21.40), owned and bred in Texas by Mike Inscore
and trained by Ray Robbins, rolled from the inside to win the Bayer
Legend Derby by a neck over Work Work Work. The Runaway Winner gelding
covered 400 yards in :19.775 en route to a $100,000 check. Twice
a graded stakes winner at Prairie Meadows and runner-up in the Retama
Park Derby in June, Magical Thunder has won six of his 12 starts
and $173,506. Juan Vazquez replaced Tami Purcell in the saddle after
the year’s most successful jockey in Challenge Championship
regional competition broke her collarbone Thursday night in a spill
at Evangeline Downs. Run Hawk Run, the 2-1 favorite, klacked the
needed kick and finished sixth.
“I rode him one time last year as a two-year-old,”
Vazquez said. “He was a pretty big baby. He kind of stumbled
a little bit and I just never let him run. He didn’t get from
the gate very quick, but I got pretty lucky to have the one hole
with him. Sometimes that helps big horses that don’t have
a lot of speed which take about 50 to 75 yards to get going. That’s
a nice horse and like I said, he’s a pretty big horse.”
EYE CAUGHTCHA PEEKIN HOLDS OFF FOES IN JOHN DEERE DISTAFF
Randee Fagan’s Eye Caughtcha Peekin gamely held off 9-5 favorite
Sizzlin by a half-length to win the John Deere Distaff in :19.941
for 400 yards. Trained by “Sleepy” Gilbreath and ridden
by Jose Alvarez, the 4-year-old Mr Eye Opener filly won her fifth
race and second graded stakes event. The $50,000 winner’s
share jumped her bankroll to $107,465 from eight outs.
STRIDER MAN OUTLASTS CASHIN SAM IN RED CELL DISTANCE
Warner Croft’s 4-year-old homebred Strider Man ($8), under
Jeff Jerman, set the pace and edged clear to win the Red Cell Distance
by 1 ¼ lengths over 2-1 favorite Cashin Sam. Trained by Matt
Baker, the Phone Prince gelding notched his first stakes victory
while running 870 yards in :44.977. Overall, he’s won five
of 20 starts and $91,049 thanks to the $51,000 first prize.
REMEMBER ME ROSE BREAKS THROUGH IN FORD JUVENILE
Azoom LP’s Remember Me Rose ($4.80), the Rainbow Futurity
runner-up and All-American Futurity fifth, didn’t disappoint
as the favorite in the Ford Juvenile en route to her first stakes
win. The Corona Cartel filly, sent postward as the 7-5 favorite
sprinted 350 yards in :17.432 to easily handle longshot Go Girl
Gone by a neck. Esgar Ramirez rode the Oklahoma-bred for trainer
Ben Torres. She banked $75,000 and improved her ledger to four wins
and $289,081 from seven starts.
SPEEDY INJUN IS JUST THAT IN PROFESSIONAL’S CHOICE
Speedy Injun ($19.40)’s victory in the Professional’s
Choice Claiming was the 3-year-old gelding’s fifth victory
in nine starts for owner Harold Chenault and trainer Eddie Willis.
The California-bred got away from the gates good under jockey Larry
Payne and rolled 350 yards in :17.632 to beat Front Page 007 by
a neck. The $37,500 winner’s share of the purse doubled the
Invisible Injun gelding’s earnings to $72,086. Ida Snow Man,
the 7-5 favorite, was fourth.
In other stakes races on the card:
* Joe Kirk Fulton’s 7-5 favorite Hez Habit Forming ($4.80),
ridden by Jose Alvarez and trained by James Lackey, ran 440 yards
in :22.051 to beat 13-1 outsider Midnight in Moscow by a neck in
the $25,000 Farnam Stakes.
* Southwest Racing Partners’ Make a Secret ($9.20), under
jockey Juan Vazquez, narrowly defeated even-money favorite Ima Ramblin
Girl by a nose in the $25,000 Sooner Trailer Stakes for trainer
Heath Taylor with a 400-yard time of :20.088.
* Betty and Bob Moore’s Shake Em Fever ($11.80), with “Diamond”
Jim Brooks in the saddle for trainer Judd Kearl, beat Jess Braggin
by a neck in the $25,000 AQHA Members Plus Stakes while running
400 yards in :19.923. Allyouneedislove, the 8-5 favorite, came home
* Carlton Dechert’s I Likem Fast ($5.80), trained by Eddie
Willis, ran 350 yards in :17.717 under Larry Payne and defeated
Call It Royal by a half-length in the $25,000 Nutrena Stakes. Surefire
Dash, the 6-5 favorite, was fourth.
* Pat and Walt Fletcher’s First to Ramble ($4.40) took advantage
of an inside draw and rolled home by three-quarters of a length
over Apollos Dasher in :45.795 for 870 yards to win the $25,000
Los Alamitos Stakes for trainer Charlton Hunt and jockey Randy Wilson.
* Favorite This Snow Is Blazin ($4), owned by Judith Charbonneau
and trained by Ed Hardy, won the $25,000 AQHRJ Stakes by a half-length
over La Jolla Maid with a 350-yard clocking in :17.714 under jockey
Total handle on the 12-race program was $1,347,601.10. The on-track
crowd of 8,128 bet $374,543 on the races, while another $973,058
was wagered at simulcast outlets across North America.
Live racing at Lone Star Park resumes Wednesday night with a nine-race
program that begins at 6:35 p.m. CT. The week’s highlights
include trials for the Grade 1, $400,000-estimated Texas Classic
Derby on Friday and the Grade 1, $1 million-estimated Texas Classic
Futurity on Saturday. Only 10 live racing dates remain at the Fall
Meeting of Champions.