Sassys Tuffy to Defend His Title in the $107,550 Bank of America Texas Challenge at Sam Houston on Saturday

(Thursday, July 9, 2009) - Sam Houston Race Park will host a full day of live American Quarter Horse racing featuring 12 live races, featuring 117 horses and $308,025 in total purse money on Saturday, July 11, 2009. The day’s race card will feature six high-dollar stakes races including the $107,550 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G1).

The 440-yard race on the dirt track features fastest qualifier, Diamond Tres Seis (3-1), as the favored pick out of the field of 10 qualifiers. The five-year-old gelding is trained by one of The Park’s top trainers, Heath Taylor, and will be ridden by jockey Gilbert Ortiz. The second favorite horse, Royce Rogers (5-1), had the sixth fastest qualifying time and will be ridden by jockey Ricky Ramirez. Returning champion, Sassys Tuffy, will look to win his second consecutive Bank of America Texas Challenge title. Trial races were held at The Park on Saturday, June 27.

Other horses to watch include: Jess My Moon (5-1), Easy Dashin Sixes, Jess Got Bayou, First Down Devon, My Philosophy, Hydrostatic, who prior to the trials had a string of four consecutive wins, and A Stoli Mate (6-1), who will be ridden by The Park’s leading jockey, David Alvarez.

The 2008 event was won by four-year-old gelding Sassys Tuffy, who is trained by Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath, and owned by his daughter Dawn Ivey and was ridden by Jose Alvarez. The horse won in a final time of :21.645. Sassys Tuffy had the third fastest qualifying time for the 2009 event.

The Bank of America Quarter Horse Racing Challenge is Quarter Horse racing’s richest program, with the championship series designed for “America's Fastest Athlete.” The goal of the Bank of America Racing Challenge is to provide more racing opportunities for older American Quarter Horses, ensuring them and their owners the rewards of longer racing careers.

A total of 59 races take place in 11 regions across the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America throughout the year. American Quarter Horses compete in one of six different types of races, depending on their age and ability.

The series culminates with a title night, featuring a total of six championship events and six undercard races, where Bank of America Challenge-enrolled horses are preferred for entry. The race boasts a $5 million purse and bonus awards program, of which more than 60% is added money from American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) corporate sponsors and host racetracks.

The 2009 Challenge Championships will be held October 30-31, 2009, at Los Alamitos Race Track, Los Alamitos, California.

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