Stolis Winner
-photo by Amber Watts & Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Bonified Man
-photo by Amber Watts & Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Royal Mr Jess
-photo by Amber Watts & Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Wowzer Won
-photo by Amber Watts & Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Stolis Winner Upsets the Field in the Grade 1 $106,290 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship at SHRP

(Houston, Texas - Saturday, July 10, 2010) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted a full day of live American Quarter Horse racing featuring nine live races and over $300,000 in total purse money on Saturday, July 10, 2010. The day’s race card featured four high-dollar stakes races, including the $106,290 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G1). The 440-yard race on the dirt track featured fastest qualifier and 2009 Bank of America Texas Challenge winner Easy Dashin Sixes getting bumped early on and finishing in third behind a confident charging Stolis Winner ($5.20) and a game second XO Kate.

Stolis Winner completed the 440 yards in a time of :21.56 and a blazing speed index of 99. The four-year-old brown gelding is owned by Jerry Windham, trained by Heath Taylor, and was ridden by jockey G. R. Carter, Jr., who was so elated with the win that he dismounted the horse with a back flip.

Stolis Winner was the fifth fastest qualifier in trials run on Saturday, June 26.

“He’s definitely the best I’ve ever ridden,” commented an excited jockey Carter. “He’s fun to ride, always breaks well, and has phenomenal finishes.”

Stolis Winner is the first All-American Futurity (G1) winner to race at Sam Houston Race Park.

“I’ve found that the third race off a layoff is when my horses perform the best,” stated Taylor. “This horse will never be put in a small race; he’s an incredible athlete, and it’s truly gratifying to have one like this.”

Final placement for the field of nine included: Stolis Winner in first, XO Kate in second, and Easy Dashin Sixes in third, followed by Special Headlines, Teton Snowman, Classified Bull, A Stoli Mate, Double Chiseled and Mr La Bubba.

The Bank of America Racing Challenge is the richest and most successful program in American Quarter Horse racing today—a championship series developed for the “World’s Fastest Horse.” The Bank of America Racing Challenge program provides more racing opportunities and bigger purses for older American Quarter Horses than any other program throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.

During the 2010 racing season, there are a total of 60 regional Challenge finals, approximately 30 John Deere Bonus Challenge races, plus several Challenge Maiden Finals. The Racing Challenge will culminate with the six Challenge Championship races and six undercard Challenge Stakes races, with total purses and bonuses topping $5 million.

More than half of the total purses and bonus awards are provided by AQHA corporate partners and host racetracks. The Racing Challenge adds more non-horsemen funds than any other America Quarter Horse racing program.

The 2010 Challenge Championships will be held November 20 at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana (exact date pending).

In addition to the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship, three other stakes races filled the nine-race card on Saturday, July 10 at The Park.

$20,925 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge (G3)

The 5th race of day, the $20,925 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge (G3), an 870-yard race for horses ages three and up, went off with a field of five horses vying for the win. Favorite and last year’s winner of the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge, Blue Ribbon Dash, took the lead immediately out of the gate and held strong to the rail throughout the race. However, Bonified Man ($8.80) kicked up the pace, with a speed index of 93, and crossed the line only a neck ahead in a time of :46.10. Bonified Man, a four-year-old gelding, is owned by Buddy & Patty Newsome, trained by Rick Robinson, and was ridden by jockey David Pinon.

Final placement was: Bonified Man, Blue Ribbon Dash, Snow Me The Paddick, Alrighty Slighty and Jets Leader.

$28,125 Pfizer Texas Starter Allowance Challenge

The 6th race of the day, the $28,125 Pfizer Texas Starter Allowance Challenge, witnessed Royal Mr Jess ($10.20) claiming the win in the 350-yard race on the dirt track. The five-year-old brown gelding, running against nine other horses, had a solid start, taking the early lead and finishing with an impressive win in a final time of :17.68. Royal Mr Jess, who posted a speed index of 98, is owned by Felipe Tovar, trained by Alonzo Loya, and was ridden by jockey Russel Hadley.

“This is an honest horse, makes no mistakes, and I’m really fortunate to train him,” commented Loya. “We’re happy at the way he handled this race.”

Final placement was: Royal Mr Jess in first, Play Topless in second, and Opalesce in third, followed by Klassy Lad, MCM Its Easy Breezy, Pelirrojo, Starlite Sr, Super Sized, Ricky Bobby Jr and Wire Me The Roses.

$33,345 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge (G3)

The $33,345 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge (G3) went off as the 7th race of the day and featured 10 horses running 400 yards. Back this year with a vengeance after being upset in last year’s Merial Texas Distaff Challenge, Wowzer Won ($5.80) broke sharp from the starting gate, had a clean trip, and was the clear winner in a time of :19.92. The five-year-old sorrel mare is owned by Kathleen O. Matey, trained by Judd S. Kearl, and was ridden by jockey Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo.

“She’s a nice mare,” commented Matey. “We’ve been waiting for this for years and are more than excited to be going to the Merial Challenge Championships this year.”

Final placement was: Wowzer Won, followed by La Jolla Suspect, Coeur D Alene, Shadaisy 123, Dashin Chick, Lethal Star, Southern Hills, Sweet Violets, A Relagate High and ICU Can Zoom.

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