|Streakin Sin Tacha Takes MBNA America
(Saturday, November 2, 2002) - Streakin Sin Tacha, owned
and trained by Janet Van Bebber, made a strong case to be named
the AQHA’s World Champion on Saturday night with a powerful
performance in the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship,
the highlight of 10 stakes races run in front 7,308 fans under rainy
conditions at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Six of 10 stakes races comprised the 10 running of the MBNA America
Challenge Championships. Stakes records were established in five
of the six events.
The MBNA America Challenge Championships rivals a track and field
competition at the Olympics. There are exciting races for distance
specialists, both sexes and all ages. It’s American Quarter
Horse racing’s equivalent to Thoroughbred racing’s Breeders’
Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, which were staged last week
at Arlington Park near Chicago.
The most lucrative event was MBNA America Challenge Championship,
a sprint at the classic distance of 440 yards for 3-year-olds and
up. Other showcased events were the Grade 1, $175,000 Bayer Legend
for 3-year-olds at 400 yards won by One Rare Bug; the Grade 1, $150,000
American Airlines for 2-year-olds where Classy Sassy Chic equaled
the 350-yard world record of :17.14; the Grade 1, $75,000 Ford for
older fillies and mares at 400 yards won by Lady Tenaya; the Grade
1, $75,000 MCI for 3-year-olds and up at the marathon distance of
870 yards won by longshot Classy Shot Glass, and the $50,000 Professional’s
Choice for 3-year-olds and up at 350 yards won by Streakin To Romance.
Each of the participants qualified to Saturday’s championship
by competing in the $4.25 million MBNA America Challenge, a purse
and bonus awards program. A total of 58 races took place in 10 regions
across the United States, Canada and Mexico throughout the year.
American Quarter Horses competed in one of six different types of
races, depending on their age, sex and ability.
Streakin Sin Tacha, who entered the week as the sixth ranked horse
in American Quarter Horse racing, will surely move up the polls
after his powerful half-length win over Jess Louisiana Blue. The
4-year-old gelding who won last year’s Texas Classy Derby
at Lone Star Park overcame a sluggish start to win the $150,000
“I was very confident in the horse,” said winning jockey
Alvin “Bubba” Brossette. “He always finishes strong.
I would have liked to see him leave [the starting gate] a little
bit better and not put quite as much pressure on me, but he came
right to them and just ran a tremendous race.”
Streakin Sin Tacha, coupled with two-time World Champion Tailor
Fit who finished sixth, paid $3.20 to win as the odds-on 3-5 favorite.
Jess Louisiana Blue, the 5-1 co-second choice, was a head in front
of third-place finisher Meter Me Ready, the longest shot in the
field of 10 older horses at 37-1.
The Rush Gets To You, Kendall Jackson, Tailor Fit, Jerichos Dash,
Classified As Dash, Chiarascuro and Let The Straw Fly completed
the order of finish.
Streakin Sin Tacha, a Louisiana-bred son of Streakin La Jolla,
ran 440 yards on a track rated “sloppy” in :21.28. It
was the fastest MBNA America Challenge Championship in 10 runnings
of the race. The old mark was held by the record-breaking mare Kool
Kue Baby, who was clocked in :21.35 in the 1996 running of the traveling
race at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz.
“He was very impressive tonight as he usually proves to be,”
said Van Bebber, a resident of McDade, Texas. “But we all
know in this sport that anything can happen especially when you
change surface conditions and have some inclement weather get in
the way. I was very proud of our horse tonight. He performed to
his potential and now he gets to go to California (for the Dec.
14 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos) and step up to the next
“He’s always been a horse that I felt didn’t
get the credit I felt he deserved. Tonight, he showed his potential
and I’m real proud that he showcased it on a wonderful national
“Those of us that were here last year for the Texas Classic
Derby remember that he performed similar that night. He comes from
the Thoroughbred bottom side (granddam is Thoroughbred Slew’s
Royalty); they’re not going to be the quickest from the gate,
but the important thing is that they finish.”
Streakin Sin Tacha won for the third time in four starts this year.
Overall, he boasts a record of 13 wins in 19 starts and earnings
“’Sin Tacha’ deserves similar credit that [two-time
World Champion Tailor Fit] gets, but they don’t get any better
than Tailor Fit,” Van Bebber said. “He is a true champions
and he’s who they write the books about.”
Tailor Fit, winner of the American Quarter Horse Association’s
top honor as World Champion in 1999 and 2001, was a surprise entry
to the race on Wednesday after a sub par performance in California.
The defending race champ broke well, but bled, according to Van
Bebber, and finished sixth. He was vanned back to Van Bebber’s
barn after the race, but walked onto the horse ambulance.
“I was in a tough spot with Tailor Fit,” Van Bebber
said of the defending race champ. “He was very dehydrated
after California. We got his hydration level back to normal. I was
concerned with how much Lasix we used going into this race, and
consequently he bled [tonight]. So I was in a hard spot. But [jockey]
Jacky [Martin] did a good job of taking care of the horse and the
horse owes us nothing. We didn’t need to abuse him by pushing
him down the racetrack.”
As for Streakin Sin Tacha, a world championship may be on the horizon.
“That’s yet to be determined,” Van Bebber said.
“We try to take care of these horses in the interest of the
longevity of their career and never push them beyond what they absolutely
have to do to get the job done. So I guess we’ll answer that
question when we go to California.”
Despite the rainy weather, more than $1.5 million was wagered on
Lone Star Park’s 12-race program. A total of $421,601 was
wagered on-track and another $1,107,780 was bet at simulcast outlets
across the country for a total of $1,529,381.
Classic Sassy Chic Matches World Record in $150,000 American
Classic Sassy Chic flashed a tremendous burst of speed from the
starting gate and powered home to equal the world record for 350
yards in the Grade 1, $150,000 American Airlines Challenge Championship.
The 2-year-old filly, owned by Rod and Jackie MacPherson of Perris,
Calif., stopped the clock in :17.14 over a track rated “sloppy,”
which equaled the amazing time set by Dolls Prodigy in the 1999
Rocky Mountain Derby at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo.
To no one’s surprise, the time eclipsed the track (:17.35
by Quarterloom and Turfinator earlier in this year’s Lone
Star Park meeting) and stakes (:17.67 by Royal N Perfect in 1997)
records, as well. It was Classic Sassy Chic’s sixth straight
“Classic Sassy Chic going very fast, shifting off the rail,
but going like a thunderbolt!,” track announcer Michael Wrona
described during the race. “What a magnificent display! Classic
Sassy Chic has run them off their legs!”
Classic Sassy Chic, a Southern California invader trained by Felix
Gonzalez, finished a hefty 1 ¼ lengths in front of runner-up
Corona Coquette. Chickie Cherry Cola was another neck back in third.
One Corona For Me, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10 juveniles,
“She broke pretty good and ran a pretty good race,”
Bautista said. “She’s a very smart filly.”
Overall, it was the daughter of A Classic Dash’s sixth win
in eight starts and third stakes triumph. The $75,000 winner’s
share of the purse increased her earnings to $130,234.
Classy Sassy Chic paid $8.80 to win.
One Rare Bug Gets Up to Win Bayer Legend Challenge Championship
One Rare Bug overcame a rough start and gutted out an upset win
over a field of highly competitive 3-year-olds in the Grade 1, $175,000
Bayer Lagend Challeng Championship. The Rare Form colt, owned by
Peter Bond of Yukon, Okla., sloshed 400 yards over the “sloppy”
track in a stakes record time of :19.65.
“He didn’t break real well, but he tried to get back
into his stride,” jockey Tad Leggett said. “I knew after
about 50 yards he was getting his feet under him. We came on strong
in the end.”
One Rare Bug, the second winner of the night to have qualified
in the Central region, is trained by Ed Hardy.
“These are the best horses in the country,” Hardy said.
“But I had a lot of confidence in my horse. When you can run
against these kind of horses and go through everything it takes
to get here, it means a lot.”
It was a head back Special Task Force in second and another head
to 2-1 favorite Burrs Warrior in third.
The Texas-bred One Rare Bug won for the eighth time in 18 starts,
and the sixth time in 10 starts this year. The $87,500 winner’s
share of the purse raised his career earnings to $187,649.
Lady Tenaya Proves to Be Top Female in Ford Challenge Championship
Lady Tenaya proved herself as one of the top older females in the
country with a powerful win in the Grade 1, $75,000 Ford Challenge
Championship. Under jockey Larry Payne, the 4-year-old Sixarun filly
overcame an usual sluggish start to drive home in stakes record
time – :19.61 for 350 yards on a surface rated “sloppy.”
“We really think that she’s one of the best older fillies
in the nation and today I think she proved that again,” said
trainer Robert Dunkle Jr. “She didn’t step away tonight
as good as she normally does. She usually gets to the lead a little
quicker, but once she got lined up, she really came running.”
Lady Tenaya, the 5-2 favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares,
bested Baltimore Lou by a half-length. Sheza Special Chick was another
neck back in third.
“I could see [Baltimore Lou] coming,” winning rider
Larry Payne said. “When I got to the front of the pack, which
was about at the midway point, I could see her out there. I knew
that she’d be coming, but Lady Tenaya had a little too much
for her tonight.”
Lady Tenaya, owned by Robert Hart of Stella, Mo., won for the fourth
time in six starts this year. Overall, she has eight wins in 19
starts. The $37,500 winner’s share of the purse
“She has the opportunity to go to the Champion of Champions
trials [at Los Alamitos],” Dunkle said. “We’re
not just yet if we’re going to do that or not. We’d
really like to see this mare run against Corona Cool.”
Longshot Classy Shot Glass Slams Favorites in MCI
Classy Shot Glass, dismissed by the public at 16-1 coming off a
seven-length defeat at Ruidoso Downs, fought gamely in a stretch-long
duel with Six Little Injuns to prevail by a head in the Grade 1,
$75,000 MCI Challenge Championship at 870 yards.
Late-running Six Little Injuns took the lead by a head in midstretch,
only to have it reclaimed an instant later by Juan Vazquez aboard
the courageous 3-year-old gelding.
“It was a helluva race,” Vazquez said. “I saw
him coming and I was just trying to run a good second. But he drew
even again and I said, ‘I think we have a shot’ and
started pushing and riding. My horse ran a really big race.”
Trained by Jose Luis Dominguez for owner Sandy Erwin of Dallas,
the Texas-bred JJ Shot Glass colt broke fast but drifted very wide
entering the stretch, leaving a large opening for Six Little Injuns
to come through on the rail. The thrilling battle ended with Classy
Shot Glass winning in a final time of :44.75.
The stellar field was completed by Finish Line Express two lengths
back in third, followed by legendary two-time champion distance
horse Sign Of Lanty, Wasting No Cash, favorite Rock N Strawfly,
Emilio and The Pharo.
Classy Shot Glass won for the third time in 11 starts. The $38,250
winner’s share of the purse raised his career earnings to
Streaking To Romance wins $50,000 Professional’s
Streakin To Romance broke a step slow, but rallied strong in deep
stretch to prevail in the $50,000 Professional’s Choice Challenge
Championship. The 4-year-old Streakin La Jolla gelding ran 350 yards
in :17.50 – a stakes record for the 10-year-old race –
and defeated 22-1 outsider Hesa Royal Remedy by a neck. Defending
champ Mister Ryon was another neck back in third.
“He ran in these [rainy] conditions down at Sam Houston [on
July 13 in the Grade 1 MBNA Texas Challenge],” said winning
trainer Bobby Martinez. “He almost outran Streakin Sin Tacha
that night and it was the same kind of racetrack, so I wasn’t
worried; I kind of liked it.
“I was real confident going into the race, but I was a little
scared of that 10 horse (defending race champ Mister Ryon). [Streakin
To Romance] got off a step slow; he was slipping a little bit. But
he sure made it up a few jumps out of the gate. This is pretty exciting.”
“Today, he warmed up pretty good and went in the gates just
looking down that racetrack,” said winning rider J.R. Ramirez.
“I knew he was going to run a good race. [Hesa Royal Remedy]
left the gate about a neck in front of me and [Mister Ryon] was
right there with me. We were heads up away from there, but about
100 yards from there he went to the lead. He just kept it going
The Louisiana-bred, owned by Raul Rubalcava, won the seventh time
in 21 starts. The $25,000 payday increased his career earnings to