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Bank of America Challenge Championship: Chicks Special Angel Stimulus, Jesscuzican

October 16, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Stories by Andrea Caudill, courtesy of AQHA

Chicks Special Angel is going for broke in the Challenge Championship

Chicks Special Angel knows how to win. In fact, in the past three years, the Oregon-bred mare has lost exactly twice in 16 starts.

She races for Miguel Sanguino of Hermiston, Oregon, and is responsible for bringing him back to racing.

“I used to be in horse racing for about four years,” he says. “Then one horse I had, he got hurt. I got (upset) and got out of horse racing for awhile.”

His brothers, who all together enjoy racing as a group hobby, spotted Chicks Special Angel during her 3-year-old year and thought she would make a great horse for Miguel.

“They thought she could be a good horse, and said, hey, if you want to come back to horse racing, this is a good horse for you,” Sanguino remembers. “I was like, no, I don’t want to have anything to do with racing.”

But they convinced him, and dropped a claim on the mare for a mere $5,000 in January 2012.

“From then on, she’s given me really good luck,” he says.

That is an understatement. The brothers, who all work together on their horses, changed her exercise program a little bit and made sure to give her the best care possible.

“We all work really hard on the horses,” Sanguino says. “We keep their feet in good shape, and give them all the things they need to be a good horse – the best feed, vitamins, everything. If you want to have a good horse, you have to feed them good. They can’t do miracles.”

Since the claim, the now-6-year-old has responded by winning 10 of 12 races while steadily climbing the class ladder. Her victories include the 2012 Autumn Handicap at Portland Meadows, and this year both the Merial Sun Downs Distaff Challenge and Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge. Her only blemishes are a fourth-place run behind eventual Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) winner Vodka With Ice in the 2013 edition of the Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge, in which she endured a rough trip, and a third-place finish behind fellow Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) contestant All Out Arrogant in the Cypress Handicap at Los Alamitos early this year.

All told, Chicks Special Angel has won or placed in 18 of 22 starts and earned $77,481.

“We have about 10 horses,” Sanguino says, noting she was the most talented of the group. “She is the most quiet in the stall. She doesn’t bite or kick. A 6-year-old kid could take her out of the stall. She is an amazing horse, very smart. When you take her to work her out, she’s very calm. I love this horse.

“But when she goes to run, as soon as they put the rider on her, she’s a different horse,” he adds. “She’s ready to go.”

Chicks Special Angel was bred by Richard and Fern Wilde of Redmond, Oregon. She is the first stakes winner by her sire, Chickspecialmongoose, and she is out of the Wildes’ homebred Super Bowl Dash mare CFF Plain Jane.

Chicks Special Angel qualified for both the Championship and Distaff races this year, and her owner chose to go for the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1).

“Might as well, you know?” he says. “It’s more money, and we think we have a chance. Hopefully everything goes good.”

They have also brought their gelding Bellingham (Check Him Out-My Ladys Eyes by Mr Eye Opener) to run in the Zoetis Starter Allowance Challenge Championship.

So now, a few years, a close family and one good horse have brought Miguel into the highest level of races. This weekend he will join his brothers, Jose and Pedro, at the races to watch the mare and stablemate Bellingham run while the rest of the family cheers from home. His brothers tease him that he should be thankful they talked him into that claim.

“I said, of course I’m really thankful for that!” he says with a laugh.

Stimulus, Jesscuzican lead Bank of America Challenge Championship

A pair of very consistent stakes veterans – Jerry Windham’s homebred Stimulus and Darian Burt’s homebred Jesscuzican – head the participants in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), the main event during the stakes-filled Bank of America Challenge Championships program on Saturday night at Prairie Meadows.

The winner of the Bank of America Challenge Championship earns an invitation to compete in the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California in December.

The Charley Hunt-trained Stimulus (Mr Jess Perry-Veva Jean by Runaway Winner) brings home track advantage into the 440-yard sprint. He has made two starts over the track with a second in his Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge trial and then coming back to rally and gain a head win in the $77,130 Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge, his most recent start.

A half-brother to world champion Stolis Winner, Stimulus has three wins and a pair of seconds in his five latest starts.

Jesscuzican and Testing The Ice represent New Mexico as the dead-heat winners of the $105,480 Bank of America Sunland Park Challenge (G2) through a disqualification back in April.

Jesscuzican (Feature Mr Jess-Covenent Confirmer by Stoli) came off that win to string together three second-place finishes against the top older horses at Ruidoso Downs this summer. He was second in the $30,000 Higheasterjet Handicap (G3) and the $20,000 Mr Jet Moore Handicap to Jody Pops Zoomer and then second by a neck to DM Streakn Thru Fire in the $200,000 All American Gold Cup (G1).

Rancho Los Dos Potrillos LLC’s Testing The Ice (Stoli-Streakin La Tac by Streakin La Jolla) took a five-month rest after the Bank of America Sunland Park Challenge. The gelding surfaced at Zia Park and ran a close third, beaten by a neck, in the $55,360 James Isaac Hobbs Stakes (G2). The five-year-old gelding was second in the $111,452 West Texas Maturity (G3) back in March.

Gerardo Prado’s Vodka With Ice (Stoli-Hips So Fine by Extra Easy) is back to defend his title in the Bank of America Challenge Championship after winning last year’s running at Los Alamitos at 17-1 odds. The winner of 14 of 55 career starts earned his starting spot in this year’s running with a win two starts ago in the $81,985 Bank of America Les Bois Park Challenge. He easily handled that field in August and then shipped to Prairie Meadows. He was fifth in an open allowance race in his only start since his arrival in Iowa.

Gilberto Jasso’s Specials Gold (Voghts Gold-Special Anywhere by Make It Anywhere) came to Prairie Meadows after winning the $68,220 Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge for the second-straight year on October 4. The gelding showed he likes the Prairie Meadows track when he was second by a head in the 2012 Altoona Derby (G3).