SHAKOPEE, MN – Multiple graded stakes winner Ajs High is weighted as the 2/5 favorite going into the $66,690 Bank of America Canterbury Park Challenge Championship.
The Bank of America Challenge Series will culminate in the Challenge Championship on October 29 at Los Alamitos Race Course. Regional races held around the world give horses qualifying berths to the Challenge Championships, which offers more than $1 million in purse and prizes on a single night.
Both the Bank of America and the Merial, contested for fillies and mares, Challenge Championship races are new to the stakes schedule; however Canterbury has a longstanding relationship with the Challenge series, having hosted races since 1995.
Ajs High is owned and was bred by Michael Teal and trained by Charlton Hunt. A winner in eleven of sixteen starts, the four year old gelding has earned $463,261 and his speed indexes stand head and shoulders over the this field. He will be ridden by Stormy Smith and breaks from post position six in the field of eight going 440 yards.
There are eleven challengers lined up for the $30,000 Added Merial Canterbury Park Distaff Challenge and there is not a distaff equivalent to Ajs High in the more wide open Merial.
Cartel Rosie is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the 400 yard Merial. A winner of nine of twenty one starts, she closed her 3-year old campaign with back to back wins at Will Rogers Downs. After a winter break, she came back in a Remington Park stake and weakened late and had to settle for third.
On her inside, rider Stormy Smith will try and pull off a stakes double aboard Bye Bye Birdy. She has been toiling at Remington in 2016 but has yet to find the winners’ circle despite coming within a length in her last two.
Looking for the mild upset will be the Stacy Charette-Hill trained Send Me This Wagon. With earnings of $141,929, Send Me This Wagon is the second highest money earner in the field behind Cartel Rosie having won half of her sixteen starts.
Post time for the ten race card is 12:54 and will feature an additional Quarter Horse race as well as seven Thoroughbred races including a very competitive optional claiming event in race seven featuring several multiple stakes winners.