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McKay to start three in $28,160 Merial Northwest Distaff Challenge at Sun Downs


May 1, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

From the American Quarter Horse Racing Journal

Trainer Shannon McKay will start three horses in the field of 10 American Quarter Horses that will compete Sunday in the $28,160 Merial Northwest Distaff Challenge on closing day at Sun Downs at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Washington. The race is part of the 17th season of the Bank of America Racing Challenge, a purse and bonus awards program for racing American Quarter Horses presented by the American Quarter Horse Association.

Merial, which offers products to protect all horses, contributes to the Bank of America Racing Challenge Distaff series. The Sun Downs race is for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at 400 yards. The winner will advance to the $125,000 Merial Racing Challenge Distaff Championship (G1) on October 31 at Los Alamitos in California.

McKay will send out MSM Black Velvet, Rockin Rylee and Tombstone Tina, and all three runners will be making their 2009 debuts in the race. McKay bred and owns MSM Black Velvet and Rockin Rylee, and trains Tombstone Tina for owner Malon Cowgill of Kennewick. In 2008, Rockin Rylee won Sun Downs' $44,230 Pot O'Gold Futurity. Tombstone Tina finished fourth in her 2008 finale, the $125,000 Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana.

The field for the Northwest Distaff Challenge, in post position order with jockeys, is: Buzzed On Bud, Jaime Martinez; Sum Special Hum, Zacharie Kelsey; Snowy First Down, Ruben Camacho; Genes Effort, Brett Anderson; Rockin Rylee, Luis Torres; This Snow Shows Klas, Nikeela Black; Dales No Okie, Ty Dangerfield; Viva La Bam, Eulices Gomez; MSM Black Velvet, Freddie Ibarra; and Tombstone Tina, Bill Ives.

The Northwest Distaff Challenge is the 11th and final race on Sun Downs' Sunday card, which offers both American Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing. Estimated post time is 5:40 p.m. West Coast time.

The Bank of America Racing Challenge was created to provide more racing opportunities for older horses. To date, the program has disbursed more than $52 million in purses and bonus awards. Of that amount, more than half has been contributed by AQHA corporate partners and participating tracks.

This year, the Challenge will offer 71 regional races and award a projected $5 million in total purses and awards from corporate partners, host tracks, horsemen and the Bank of America Challenge purse supplement fund.

On April 26, Sun Downs played host to another regional race in the series, the $18,360 Fort Dodge Northwest Starter Allowance Challenge. The winner was Shauna Edwards and Mark Loebner's Victorys Wicked Lad, with Ives aboard for trainer Scott Raley. Victorys Wicked Lad advances to the $75,000 Fort Dodge Racing Challenge Starter Allowance Championship on October 31 at Los Alamitos.