The Racing Journal Logo

Final Challenge stop at Turf Paradise


October 13, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Champion Time For A Cigar highlights the final stop on the trail to the Bank of America Challenge Championships when he heads the $60,000 Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge (G3) on Sunday afternoon at Turf Paradise.

Also carded are the $20,000 John Deere Turf Paradise Juvenile Challenge and the $17,000 Red Cell Turf Paradise Distance Challenge.

The winners of these races earn the final invitations to compete in their respective championship races during the Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 29 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Time For A Cigar (Corona Cartel-Time For A Goddess by Timeto Thinkrich) is on the same path to the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) that he took last year. A year ago, he won the Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge and then went on to finish fourth in the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Fair Grounds.

Time For A Cigar is in peak form after a strong summer campaign at Ruidoso Downs. The 5-year-old gelding pulled off a mild upset when he won the Mr Jet Moore Stakes over a sharp Zoomin With Ease in :19.364 for the 400 yards. He backed up that performance with a game second-place finish behind champion Noconi in the All American Gold Cup (G2). He was a neck behind Noconi in that 440-yard test at 5-to-2 odds.

Time For A Cigar was honored as the 2009 champion 3-year-old gelding after winning the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and the Sunland Park Winter Derby (G2).

The Gerardo Ochoa-Pena-owned and -trained Kays Gunslinger (Special Leader-Klassic Kay by A Classic Dash) takes a step up in class for the Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge. He won at the $12,500-claiming level two starts ago and then was a close second and after a stumbling start in a $27,500 allowance race at SunRay Park.

In the 350-yard John Deere Turf Paradise Juvenile Challenge, Jim Walker’s Bux For Cocktail (Zoomin For Bux-A Perfect Cocktail by Corona Cocktail) tries to regain his winning form after suffering his first defeat in his trial after reeling off four-straight wins to start his career.

The Matthew Fales-trained gelding capped his winning streak with a three-quarter-length score in the Intermountain Futurity at Elko. He then finished fourth in his John Deere Turf Paradise Juvenile Challenge trial as the even-money favorite.

Itaseal Garcia’s Featuresonora (Feature Mr Jess-Corona Blurr by Corona Cartel) won the second of two trials that contained Bux For Cocktail at nearly 20-to-1 odds. He won his maiden in the trial in his second start when he raced the 350 yards at :17.836 back in June.

In the 870-yard Red Cell Turf Paradise Distance Challenge, Rene Laatch’s Yin Your Eyes faces dangerous competition when he tries for his sixth-straight win.

The Bill Hoburg-trained Yin Your Eyes (Eye Yin You-Apollo Snowbound by Snowbound (TB)) started his winning streak in a 770-yard allowance race at Sun Downs and continued to win at that level until his most recent start when he won the $20,000 Red Cell Sandy Downs Distance Challenge. The Bill Hoburg-trained gelding took the lead at the start and was never headed on his way to the one-half-length score.

Jesus Carrette’s Apollos First Down (Apollo (TB)-Ms Devine Diva by This Snow Is Royal) and Merritt Pride’s LFR Simply The Best (Heza Fast Man-Stunning Rockette by Rocket Wrangler) bring consistent stakes records into the Red Cell Turf Paradise Distance Challenge.

The L. Wayne Brasher-trained Apollos First Down raced to his most important win in his latest start when he went from gate-to-wire to win the $30,000 Special Hank Handicap at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Trained by Pride, LFR Simply The Best has been second in his latest five starts dating back to last year’s Red Cell Turf Paradise Distance Challenge. He was second behind champion De Passem Okey in two stakes races this summer at Prairie Meadows.