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Sandy Downs, Elko awarded AQHA Challenge races

April 6, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

The AQHA announced today that Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls, Idaho, has been awarded three Bank of America Racing Challenge races while the Elko County Fair in Elko, Nevada, has been awarded one. Winners of the four races are eligible to compete in the Challenge Championships at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans on November 20, 2010.

Elko gets arguably the biggest of the four races—the regional Bank of America Challenge Championship. Trials (if needed) for the race are scheduled for August 25; the Championship race is scheduled for Sunday, September 5.

At Sandy Downs, the Adequan Derby Challenge trials are scheduled for June 11 with the final on June 26. The John Deere Juvenile Challenge trials and final are also on the June 11 and June 26 cards. Trials for the third of Sandy's three races—the Red Cell Distance Challenge—are scheduled for August 13, with the final on August 28.

"We're extremely excited to have the quality of horses that the Challenge races bring to Sandy Downs," said Jim Bernard, the new Director of Racing at the Idaho Falls track. Sandy Downs will host 17 live race days in 2010, from June 11 to August 28, up from six days in 2009.

The four races were traditional mainstays of the Les Bois Park meeting, but Les Bois Park currently is not scheduled to open in 2010. Last year, the races were moved to Wyoming Downs when Les Bois Park failed to open, but that move is not an option this year—Wyoming Downs is also not scheduled to open in 2010.

Elko was previously awarded the regional Pfizer Starter Allowance Challenge (trials August 25, final September 5). In addition, the Eastern Idaho Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho, was awarded the regional Merial Distaff Challenge (trials September 5, final September 11). The new venues give the Intermountain West the full complement of Challenge races.