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 first prize.

“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 challenge.”

“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 highlight.

“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 of $470,192.

“’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 Airlines

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 win.

“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, finished fifth.

“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 $72,567.

Streaking To Romance wins $50,000 Professional’s Choice

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 from there.”

The Louisiana-bred, owned by Raul Rubalcava, won the seventh time in 21 starts. The $25,000 payday increased his career earnings to $92,557.

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