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MBNA America Racing Challenge to kick off 14th year


March 1, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

March 1, 2006 - The MBNA America®
Racing Challenge Program, American Quarter Horse racing’s richest series, is set to launch its 14th season as Sunland Park hosts the Red Cell New Mexico Distance Challenge (G2) on March 19, then continues the Challenge action with the $100,000-added MBNA America New Mexico Challenge (G1) on April 2.

In 2005, A Long Goodbye won the 440-yard MBNA America New Mexico Challenge in :20.686, breaking by 5/100ths of a second the world record set by Kendall Jackson in the same race three years earlier. A Long Goodbye (Pure D Dash–Tinys Gay Moon, Tiny’s Gay), a six-time stakes winner and earner of $386,400, has been nominated to the race again this year, and could be looking to repeat the stakes victory. He has started off the year with back-to-back stakes wins in the KHEY/Y96 Handicap (G3) and the West Texas Maturity (G2) at Sunland.

The Northwest Regional Challenge races begin April 2, as Portland Meadows hosts the Professional’s Choice Northwest Claiming Challenge. The 350-yard Professional’s Choice Challenge is for 3-year-olds and up who have started for $5,000 or less during the previous 12 months.

“We are very excited about the 2006 MBNA America Racing Challenge season,” said Ryan Sherman, Senior Manager of the Challenge, “With the incredible cooperation of our Corporate Partners, racetrack hosts and horsemen, it looks to be another great year. We really look forward to the Challenge Regional weekends which allow a track to have a multiple-stakes event for their fans and players and showcase American Quarter Horse racing’s top talent.”

The first “Regional Challenge Weekend” will be held at Remington Park Racetrack and Casino in Oklahoma City. Remington Park will host the $100,000-added MBNA America Oklahoma Challenge (G1), John Deere Oklahoma Distaff Challenge (G3), Red Cell Oklahoma Distance Challenge (G3) and Professional’s Choice Oklahoma Claiming Challenge, all on May 14.

Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana, will host the East Regional Challenge weekend as they run all six of their Regional races on May 21.

The MBNA America Racing Challenge is a championship series showcasing “America's Fastest Athlete.” A total of 59 races take place in 11 regions across the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America throughout the year.

American Quarter Horses compete in one of six divisions, depending on their age and ability, for more than $4.8 million in purses and awards. The series culminates with a title night featuring a total of six championship events and seven undercard races where finalists vie for more than $1 million in purses.

The 2006 MBNA America Challenge Championships will be held Saturday, November 11, at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

For more information about American Quarter Horse racing or the MBNA America Racing Challenge Championship, go to aqharacing.com.