-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
A New Hero

-photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
SLM Snowman

-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Katrina Duncan

-photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Amor Lijero - TQHA Stakes

-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Shesa Bit Fiesty - AQHYA Claiming Stakes

-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Apollo Babe - Sooner Trailer Stakes

SLM Snowman Takes MBNA America Challenge Championship; Azoom Defeated in Ford Challenge Championship at SHRP

Houston, Texas (November 6, 2004) - The presitigious MBNA America Challenge Championships were held on Saturday, November 6 at Sam Houston Race Park, and the following were the results:

A New Hero Is Prompt Favorite in Bayer Legend Challenge Championship

The 8-5 choice, A New Hero broke quickly from post his rail post, led at every call and sprinted to a three-quarter length victory in the 400-yard, $175,000 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship (G1) for sophomores.

Saddled by reigning AQHA champion trainer Paul Jones for the partnership of Pruitt and Jumonville, A New Hero went the trip in :20.021 and recorded his fifth win in 12 outs and second stakes score. Ramon Sanchez rode the winner, who returned a $5.20 win mutuel.

A New Hero was bred by Gene Ralston’s Ramich Farm of Topeka, Kansas, and is one of 63 stakes winners from 11 crops sired by the Special Effort stallion Strawfly Special, who died in August. The gelding’s dam, the Dash For Cash mare Dashing Piglet, has produced four starters, including the stakes-placed Runaway Colors gelding Mr Step Ahead.

An earner of $134,292, A New Hero has won two stakes, including the September 18 Bayer Legend California Challenge (G3) at Los Alamitos. The gelding also was a finalist in the Ruidoso Derby (G2).

Self Assertive, a 9-1 longshot ridden by Armando Andrade, crossed the wire but was disqualified and placed third for lugging in from post 9 and interfering with I Make Em Shake, who broke from post 6. The A New Hero-I Make Em Shake ($2) exacta returned $44.80. Self Assertive completed a $311.20 ($2) trifecta.

Go For Fame, JLS Streak Of Snow, Streakin Kilobyte, Royal Medallion, Redman Running, A Special Martini and Soma Royal completed the order of finish.

Sixy Thru Traffic Wins John Deere Challenge Championship

Sixy Thru Traffic, a 3-year-old filly by champion Dash Thru Traffic racing for Eusevio Huitron of Austin, Texas, held off a late charge from 9-10 favorite Prima LD to win the $100,000 John Deere Challenge Championship (G1) for fillies and mares.

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Bobby Martinez, Sixy Thru Traffic won by a neck over Prima LD and covered 400 yards in :19.975 for her seventh win in 12 races. The filly’s third stakes victory boosted her bankroll to $165,404.

Sixy Thru Traffic was bred by Jon and Donna McPherson’s L/J Farms at Alexandria, Louisiana. She is one of 21 stakes winners from eight crops sired by Dash Thru Traffic, a 14-year-old First Down Dash stallion who won the 1992 All American Futurity (G1) and was that season’s champion 2-year-old colt. The filly is the first starter produced by her dam, the winning Six Fortunes mare Sixy De Cash.

Precious Clarise ran third, one length behind Sixy Thru Traffic, and was followed by Sixes Ms Perry, One Fast Kisser, Katies Sign, Rarest Daisy, Dorothy Nell and This Candys Special. Regal Fly was scratched.

Another “SLM” Wins MBNA America Challenge Championship

Seven years after two-time world champion SLM Big Daddy won the MBNA America Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos, another “SLM” visited the winner’s circle after the 2004 edition of the rich stakes.

SLM Snowman, a 4-year-old gelding by champion This Snow Is Royal, broke sharply from post 6 and led at every call en route to an easy 1 3/4 length-victory over Grade 1 winner Valors Gold. Jacky Martin, who also rode “Big Daddy” in his Challenge Championship score, rode the homebred SLM Snowman for Steve and Lindsey Mitchell of Brownwood, Texas, and trainer Don Mourning.

The Mitchells and Mourning were also the connections behind SLM Big Daddy’s successful run in the mid-1990s. SLM Snowman is one of 18 stakes winners from three crops sired by This Snow Is Royal, the sport’s champion 2-year-old colt in 1997. The gelding is one of two starters foaled by his dam, the winning Racin Free mare Windy Rac N Frac, who was also bred and campaigned by the Mitchells.

The 4.30-to-1 third choice in the wagering, SLM Snowman returned a $10.60 win mutuel and teamed with Valors Gold, the winner of this year’s MBNA America Texas Challenge (G1) and a 16-1 longshot, for a $184.20 ($2) exacta and $111.20 ($2) quinella. Sky Lane Pie, Shakem Elvis, reigning world champion Oak Tree Special, Stars Snowbound, Special Task Force, 5-2 favorite Push The Pace, CSR Major Memories and Chickie Cherry Cola completed the order of finish.

A claim of foul by the rider of Chickie Cherry Cola against the riders of Oak Tree Special and Shakem Elvis was not allowed by the stewards.

SLM Snowman has earned $275,075 from eight victories in 16 races, and the MBNA America Challenge Championship represented his third stakes score. In addition to the $150,000 winner’s share of the purse, the gelding also earned a berth in the December 11, $500,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Run And Pray Catches Pacesetter Rulon Gardner, Wins MD Barns Challenge Championship

Coming from slightly off the pace, Bobby D. Cox’s Run And Pray won the 870-yard, $100,000 MD Barns Challenge Championship (G1).

Trained by John Buchanan and ridden by John Hamilton, Run And Pray caught Rulon Gardner at the wire and posted a three-quarter length victory over that rival. Seek N Destroy ran third, four lengths behind the winner, and was followed by Get Solid, Go Easy Snow, 13-10 favorite Runbyu, Calls Hot Colors and Bac In The Saddle.

Bred by Billy J. Bryson of Pilot Point, Texas, Run And Pray was helped by a ground-saving trip from post 1. The 5-year-old gelding, one of six stakes winners from six crops sired by the Grade 1-winning Easily Smashed stallion Invisible Injun, was winning for the seventh time in 30 outs, and the $51,000 winner’s share of the purse pushed his earnings to $247,029.

Run And Pray is one of six Quarter Horse starters foaled by the 17-year-old Tri Jet (TB) mare Pray (TB). The gelding is a full brother to Hallelujah Train, the third-place finisher in the 2000 Heritage Place Futurity, and a half brother to the stakes-placed Truley First Class mare Sing And Pray.

The MD Barns Challenge Championship represents Run And Pray’s third stakes win. On May 29, he won the MD Barns Texas Challenge (G3). His first stakes score came in last year’s 870-yard Red River Handicap at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.

Dash On A Mission Wins Ford Challenge Championship; Odds-On Favorite Azoom Runs Seventh

Alex Bautista rode Dash On A Mission, the 9-2 second choice, to a neck victory in the $150,000 Ford Challenge Championship (G1) for 2-year-olds.

A homebred prepped by Dennis Ekins for Mr. And Mrs. Judd Morse of San Jacinto, California, Dash On A Mission stopped the timer in :17.605 for 350 yards. The gelding by the Falstaff (TB) stallion Apollo (TB) was recording his third win in five outs and second stakes score, and boosting his bankroll to $99,065.

Dash On A Mission is one of 12 American Quarter Horse stakes winners from six crops sired by Apollo, the sire of champion and Grade 1 winner Old Habits. The gelding’s dam, the 15-year-old Browns Dasher mare Ever So, has produced three starters – Dash On A Mission represents her lone stakes winner.

The Morses are 40-year consecutive breeders who have also bred 1992 Miss Kindergarten Futurity (G1) winner First N Four and '93 Kansas Jackpot Futurity (RG2) winner Dance Thru Time.

Beginning his career in California, Dash On A Mission broke his maiden in an August 13 Ford California Challenge (G3) trial at Los Alamitos. Two weeks later, the gelding won the $41,580 final by 2 3/4 lengths in the stakes-record time of :17.410 for 350 yards.

Azoom, a three-time graded stakes winner and the 2-5 favorite, ran seventh after breaking in the air. The No. 1-ranked 2-year-old on the AQHA poll, the colt was just eight days removed from a two-length victory in the $1-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1).

Grade 1 winner Eye Yin You ran second and was followed by First Comment, Jacquay, BS My Favorite Sport, Maid It Special, Azoom, Chicks Little Leader, Plain Eye Opening and WRS Special Shoe. Breaking from post 8, Plain Eye Opening was sandwiched at the start, and a claim of foul was lodged by his owners against the riders of Maid It Special and Chicks Little Leader. The foul claim was disallowed by the stewards.

Katrina Duncan Breaks Maiden in Professional’s Choice Challenge Championship

Sent to post at odds of 11-1, Katrina Duncan led at every call en route to a one-length victory over 11-10 favorite Eminent Esquire in the $75,000 Professional’s Choice Challenge Championship.

Under J.R. Ramirez, who rode the 3-year-old Sir Austin Duncan filly for owner Cedar Creek Ranch Inc. and trainer Joseph Vacca, Katrina Duncan covered 350 yards in :17.807 and posted her first victory in 14 starts.

Katrina Duncan was bred Tommy Arhopulos of College Station, Texas, a 40-year consecutive breeder who has in his own name has bred 199 winners, six stakes winners and the earners of more than $1.6 million. The filly is one of five starters foaled by her dam, the unraced 16-year-old Streakin Six mare One Eyed Six.

The $37,500 winner’s share of the purse boosted Katrina Duncan’s earnings to $61,829. On October 16, she became stakes placed for the first time when she ran third in the 400-yard, $14,500 Sugarland Stakes for fillies and mares at Sam Houston Race Park.

Because it is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price within a year prior to the trials for the regional qualifying races, the Professional’s Choice Challenge Championship is not officially recognized as a stakes by AQHA.

Katrina Duncan returned a win mutuel of $24 and teamed with Eminent Esquire for a $96.60 ($2) exacta. Western Jeopardys, a 25-1 longshot representing Canada, ran 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner and completed a $1,228.60 ($2) trifecta.

Fast Talkin Val, A Toast To KC, JD Phantom, Mr First Vision, Meter Me Mone and Fsixteen completed the order of finish. What Are The Odds was scratched.

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