The American Quarter Horse Association, October 17, 2017 – The 25th running of the Bank of America Challenge Championships took place at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on October 14 and saw a hometown hero conquer the biggest event of the night.
Iowa-bred stallion The Fiscal Cliff romped to a three-quarter-length victory in the $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) for Iowa City, Iowa-based owner and breeder Tom Lepic.
This is the third time the championship event has been hosted at Prairie Meadows, and it featured horses from all over North America. The horses must earn invitations to the event by placings in regional race competition.
The Fiscal Cliff is a 4-year-old son of PYC Paint Your Wagon out of the Shazoom mare Signs Zoomer. He qualified for the race by winning the July 4 Bank of America Canterbury Championship Challenge. He cruised 440 yards in this race, over a sloppy track, to win in :21.297 for trainer Kasey Willis and jockey Benito Baca.
“Thank you so much, AQHA,” said Lepic after the race. “Thank you for being in Iowa; thank you so much for letting us run on our home turf.
“He’s going to California for the Champion of Champions (at Los Alamitos Race Course),” Lepic added. “To have an Iowa-bred do this, on his own turf in this kind of conditions, is unbelievable.”
Baca is the program’s year-end high-point jockey.
“It was a dream trip,” he said. “He stepped away and all I had to do was hold on the whole 440. He’s an awesome horse to ride.”
The Fiscal Cliff has earned $564,875 in his career, while winning 13 of 23 career starts.
Horses competing in the Challenge Championships underwent and passed hair testing.
“This is evidence that AQHA’s stance on integrity is effective, and a high percentage of horsemen wish to abide by our rules,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber.
Other winners on Challenge Championship night include:
- Dauns First Desirio, winner of the $180,000 Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3) for owner Rogelio Carbajal Santos of Thornton, Colorado; trainer Julio Corral and jockey Cesar Gomez. The gelding by Desirio is out of the First Down Express mare First Daun Express, and was bred by Dan and Jolene Urschel.
- Jess Paint Your Lips, winner of the $105,000 Boehringer Ingelheim Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) for owner and breeder Michael Pohl of Colorado Springs, Colorado; trainer Stacy Charette-Hill and jockey Jorge Torres. The 4-year-old mare is by Jess Louisiana Blue and out of the Corona Cartel mare Paint Your Lips.
- Carris Cartel, winner of the $131,300 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) for owner and breeder Nancy Carrizales of Harlingen, Texas; and trainer Edelmiro Carrizales and jockey Santos Carrizales. The filly is by The Louisiana Cartel and out of the Strawfly Special mare Shesa Wicked Gypsy.
- Zoomin Racer, winner of the $105,000 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) for owner and trainer Fernando Carrete of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and jockey Ricky Ramirez. The 4-year-old gelding was bred by AQHA Past President Jerry Windham and is by Jess Zoomin and out of the Runaway Winner mare Racing Winner.
For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.
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