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2007 Bank of America Challenge Championships culminate at Los Alamitos on Saturday, November 3


November 2, 2007     E-mail this page to a friend!

Get to Los Alamitos early—by car, by cab, by bus, or through the magic of televised, online or simulcast venues. Because you'll want to be ready for the action-packed night of 13 stakes races, including the B of A finals.

The first post is 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

The 870-yard specialist Snowbound Superstar is the likely favorite favorite in the $100,000 Distance Challenge Championships. “Superstar” will break from post 5 under his regular rider, Cody Jensen, for trainer Paul Jones. Bettors will also wager a bit on First To Ramble, who had a 5-for-5 season going this year until his most recent start at Lone Star Park, where he finished fifth running into a headwind. “Ramble,” breaking from the inside post, will have a new pilot in G.R. Carter.

What a Performance, winner of the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap at Los Alamitos to start her season, breaks from the inside in the $100,000 Distaff Challenge Championship at 440 yards under her regular rider, Rodigo Aceves. She's a top contender in this talented group, which includes Awezoomin, a 3-year-old who has garnered high speed ratings at tracks in western Canada and in the U.S. northwest. She returns to the Bill Hoburg barn for this race, and gets a new rider, Jay Conklin.

The $150,000 Juvenile Challenge Championship over 350 yards, the Idaho invader Gomez Palacio takes his six-race winning streak into his first race since August 11. Conklin again takes the reins, as he has in all eight of the gelding's starts. Jay Pitcher trains for owner-breeder Robert Gutke.

In the $200,000 Derby Challenge Championship at 400 yards, local hero Czech N Out Ashley under Alex Bautista is the likely favorite. Hector Jaime Hernandez is the trainer.

The biggest purse of the ultra-rich night is the $300,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship—a race that features an attractive East vs. West matchup. California regional winner Strawkins, last year's champion 3-year-old gelding, will represent the West coast while facing the Louisiana-bred and East Coast rep, Angelas Toast. Trained by Ezequiel Villarreal for his daughter, Kandy Villarreal, Angelas Toast has won 16 of 25 career starts for earnings of $513,181. Since January of 2006, Angelas Toast has won 15 of 17 races. One of those loses came at Los Alamitos on September 15 when the son of Toast To Dash ran a solid fourth to FDD Dynasty in the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap.

The Bank of America Challenge Championship will have an international flavor courtesy of the Brazilian-bred Brando Bryan. The 5-year-old stallion by Blazen Bryan is the South American representative after winning the $42,350 Bank of America South America Challenge Championship at Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brando Bryan won his U.S. debut in September after winning the Pomona Express.

Horses qualified to run in the Challenge races by competing in regional trials throughout the summer. In Canada, Alberta tracks RMTC in Lethbridge and Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie hosted trials. Central Region qualifiers came from trials at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. East Region trials at Delta Downs in Vinton, LA, and races at Hippodrome De Las Americas in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil, determined representatives. New Mexico sent winners from trials at Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park, Oklahoma ran qualifiers at Blue Ribbon Downs and Remington Park, Texas sent representatives from trials at Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park, and California competitors won their spots at Los Alamitos. The Northwest Region ran trials at Les Bois Park in Boise, ID, and Sun Downs in Kennewick, WA, and three venues sent qualifiers from the West/Southwest region: Arapahoe Park in Denver, CA, Turf Paradise in Phoenix, AZ, and Wyoming Downs in Evanston.