MBNA America Challenge Championships - Barn Notes for Monday, November 1

(Monday, November 1, 2004) - The Jack Brooks-trained pair of Special Task Force and Eye Yin You have arrived at Sam Houston Race Park in preparation for Saturday night's MBNA America Challenge Championships, which offer over $1 million in purses.

Special Task Force will run in the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship for older horses at 440 yard and Eye Yin You is in the Grade 1, $150,000 Ford Juvenile Challenge Championship.

Special Task Force is making his second start in eight days after a third-place finish in the Grade 1, $150,000 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park on Oct. 29. In the Refrigerator, jockey Jacky Martin pulled up Special Task Force after the race when he thought the horse was tying up.

However, Special Task Force was well when he returned to the Brooks' barn and shipped to Sam Houston in fine order.

"I'm really pleased with the way he is doing," said assistant trainer Raymond Vargas, at Sam Houston with Special task Force. "He came out of the Refrigerator well and is taking it easy this week.

"If he draws the one hole, watch out. He loves the one hole."

Special Task Force earned his berth in the Challenge Championship with a 3/4-length victory in the Oklahoma Challenge Championship. Since, he has a second-place effort in the All American Gold Cup and the third-place Refrigerator effort.

Eye Yin You, owned by Betty and Dee Raper, won the New Mexico Ford Challenge Championship to earn the right to compete against the other 2-year-olds in the 400-yard Ford Challenge Championship. The very consistent colt also won the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity. He has four wins, a second and a third from seven career starts.

The MBNA America Challenge Championships will be shown live on TVG with the first Challenge race, the Professional's Choice Claiming Challenge, having a 9:18 p.m. EST first post time.

News and Notes

Houston weather

The week of the MBNA America Challenge Championships got off to a soggy start with up to three inches of rain expected in the Houston area on Monday, but the wet weather should not impact the Challenge Championships on Saturday night.

The rain kept the Challenge Championship prospective starters in their stalls or walking around covered shedrows on Monday morning. Clearing weather should bring out horses for exercise on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

The MBNA America Challenge Championships, with five Grade 1 races and over $1.3 million in purses, will be held on Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park. They will be televised live on the TVG Network.

The rain in the Houston area is forecast to end on Tuesday and a clearing weather pattern will take over the Texas' Gulf Coast region through Saturday. Therefore, a fast track is expected for the Challenge Championships.

MBNA Challenge Championships Television Schedule

The MBNA America Challenge Championships, with five Grade 1 stakes and over $1.3 million in purses, will be televised live to over 50 million households on Saturday night.

The races will be televised on TVG and the following Fox Sports regional networks- Southwest, South, Net 2 (west coast), New York and Sunshine (tape delayed in Florida). The live programs will begin at 8 p.m. EST.

The races will also air on America's Horse, televised on the Outdoor Life Network, on Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. EST.

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