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Stolis Winner faces Challenge winners

October 27, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

World champion and all-time leading money earner Stolis Winner faces two winners from last year’s Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships when he starts in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on October 29 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The 440-yard Bank of America Challenge Championship is the headlining race during the Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 29 at Los Alamitos.

Champion and 2010 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) winner Spit Curl Diva and 2010 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) winner Acorn are also scheduled to compete in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

The Bank of America Challenge Championship at the classic American Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards headlines the stakes-stocked evening during the Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships.

Jerry Windham’s homebred Stolis Winner, by Stoli out of Veva Jean (by Runaway Winner), is one of the most accomplished Quarter Horses to ever run in a race, however has yet to win a race during the Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships, the sport’s premier night of racing. His best finish was third in the 2010 Bank of America Challenge Championship as the favorite.

Stolis Winner has won a pair of regional stakes in the Bank of America Racing Challenge program. The gelding won the 2009 Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G1) and this year’s Bank of America Remington Park Championship Challenge (G2). That half-length win at Remington Park gave him his berth in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

The 5-year-old Stolis Winner joined the Juan Aleman barn at Los Alamitos and made his debut at the Southern California track on October 9 in the $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1), finishing ninth after a slow and troubled start.

An earner of $2,231,661, Stolis Winner earned the bulk of that all-time record total as a 2-year-old when he won the All American Futurity (G1) and Rainbow Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs after winning the Heritage Place Futurity (G1) at Remington Park.

The Lepic-Morgan Partnership’s Spit Curl Diva, by Spit Curl Jess out of Some Kinda Diva (by Some Dasher), took last year’s Merial Distaff Challenge Championship on her way to being honored as champion aged horse and champion aged mare. She held on to win that 400-yard race by a nose as the 3-to-5 favorite for her fourth-straight stakes win and second Grade 1 victory during her championship campaign. She won the Refrigerator Handicap (G1) over males in her previous start.

Spit Curl Diva returned this year and continued to defeat male rivals. She won the Golden Driller Stakes at Fair Meadows and then went to Prairie Meadows to win the Keokuk Stakes (G3) and the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge (G2) in her most recent start.

Rose Marie Chandler’s homebred Acorn, by Oak Tree Special out of Trio Gal (TB) (by Tasso), won six of seven 2010 starts, including four stakes. He wrapped up the year with back-to-back stakes wins in the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) and the Evangeline Derby.

Acorn started his 2011 campaign with a second in the Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge (G2) and has maintained his consistent stakes record throughout the year. The gelding posted wins in the Miss Polly Classic (G2), the Ancira Ford Stakes (G3) and the Fair Grounds Bonus Challenge.

The 4-year-old gelding has won 12 of 20 starts and has six stakes wins.

The Gerardo Ochoa-Pena-owned and -trained Rylees Boy, by Heza Motor Scooter out of Pipistrelle (by Rocky Jones), thrives at 440 yards with eight wins, two seconds and two thirds from 12 starts over the distance. The gelding makes his first start since May and is riding a three-race winning streak, all at 440 yards. He defended his title in the $117,000 Bank of America Sunland Park Challenge (G2) with a sensational :20.423 time and then finished first in the Remington Park Championship (G1) in :21.188.

Favorite Cartel, by Favorite Trick (TB) out of Shenoshercorona (by Corona Cartel), will be dangerous in the Bank of America Challenge Championship after winning the Bank of America Los Alamitos Challenge (G2) over the Los Alamitos track two starts ago. He pulled away from Shining First Dash to win by a half length in :21.367 for the 440 yards as the 6-to-5 favorite.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, Terry Thompson and trainer Paul Jones, Favorite Cartel was third in the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and fourth in the All American Futurity (G1) as a juvenile and qualified for three Grade 1 derbies as a 3-year-old.

Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Time For A Cigar, by Corona Cartel out of Time For A Goddess (by Timeto Thinkrich), is a champion who could be the hot horse at the right time. The 2009 champion 3-year-old gelding is on a roll with a win in the Mr Jet Moore Stakes (G3) at Ruidoso Downs, a second behind champion Noconi in the All American Gold Cup (G2) and a dominating win in the Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge (G3) in his latest three starts.

JK Running Horses’ Jess A Runner, by Jess Louisiana Blue out of Katiebug Driver (by My Designated Driver), travels to Los Alamitos after two stakes wins and a second behind Spit Curl Diva in the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge in his latest three starts. He won the Great Lake Stakes at Canterbury Park and the Two Rivers Stakes (G3) at Prairie Meadows.

Prairie Meadows rooting for Spit Curl Diva

Story by Dan Johnson, Prairie Meadows

Spit Curl Diva will make a run at some Iowa racing history in Saturday's $350,000 Bank of America Championship Challenge at Los Alamitos racetrack in southern California.

The 5-year-old mare is owned by Tom Lepic of Iowa City and Sara Morgan of Oklahoma. The Grade I Challenge Championship is one of the sport's biggest races, and if she wins, it will be the richest and most prestigious race ever by a quarter horse owned by an Iowan.

Spit Curl Diva was quarter horse racing's champion aged mare and aged horse in 2010. She won the national Distaff Challenge in 2010 against fillies and mares, but Lepic decided to try her against the nation's top male runners this year.

She is listed as the 7-to-2 second favorite in the morning line, which projects the odds for each horse. Rylees Boy is the 8-to-5 favorite in the 11-horse field.

"I feel really good that we'll run a good race," Lepic said. "The race is extremely tough. There are six or seven horses that can win it. It’s sure exciting to be here."

Spit Curl Diva qualified by winning the regional Prairie Meadows Challenge Championship while setting a track record for 440 yards. She beat Jess a Runner and Acorn, who will also be in the finals.

Lepic sent Spit Curl Diva to California in September so she could get acclimated to the race.

"She's really settled in," Lepic said. "She's putting on weight and has really come on well."
The Grade I Championship Challenge is the marquee race on Challenge night, which offers six races worth more than $1 million combined. Horses earned berths by wining regional qualifying races throughout the year.

The second-richest race is the $200,000 Derby Challenge, which includes T Gold J, who qualified by winning the Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge.