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Saturday, 21 March 2020 13:21

Five B of A Races On Schedule

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They’re back!

Horse racing fans in the Peace Country, again in 2020, will be able to watch some of Canada’s best quarter horses compete on JDA Raceway during The Horses At Evergreen Park in July and August.

The Bank of America Challenge Championships has returned with five Canadian championship events again this year. Evergreen Park is the only race track in Canada taking part in the program. Other regionals are in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

With $140,000 in purse money from the five races on JDA Raceway and a chance to compete in the championship finals in Albuquerque, New Mexico – and hundreds of thousands of dollars in purse money – Evergreen Park will be hosting some high-quality quarter horses.

Since the Bank of America Challenge Championship began in 1993, the program has distributed more than $65 million to quarter horse breeders and owners.

The program's primary focus is on horses three years old and older.  When the Challenge began in 1993, it was founded with the intention to help owners, trainers and horses reap the rewards of longer racing careers. Only a small percentage of quarter horses are still stakes-calibre beyond the age of four, but those that have not been retired or transferred to the breeding sheds have become some of the biggest superstars in racing. 

Once a horse enrolls into the Racing Challenge program, it is eligible to participate in any Challenge Championship race offered.

The five divisions of the B of A Challenge Championship program cover a wide spectrum of competition: 

  • The Bank of America Championship Challenge race is a 440-yard race for 3-year-olds and up. It showcases some of the industry's finest horses.
  • The Adequan Derby Challenge race is a 400-yard race for 3-year-olds. 
  • The John Deere Juvenile Challenge race is a 350-yard race for 2-year-olds. 
  • The Distaff Challenge race is reserved for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up and ran at 400 yards.
  • The Distance Challenge race spotlights the distance specialists, running at 870 yards, and is open to all 3-year-olds and up.

In 2019 Grande Prairie’s Chuck Stojan won three of them – Geitithot (Adequan), True Copy (Distaff) and Stripsteak (B of A Challenge)– win Canadian titles and advance to the championship in New Mexico. Stojan was also selected as the Owner Of The Year at the finale.

Painted Wagon, owned by Bucky Stockwell, won the John Deere Challenge in Grande Prairie and Gone To Be Bright, owned by Gonetothebrightside Syndicate, took the Distance Challenge.

This program is not only a boost for the local race program, but for quarter horses across Alberta and Western Canada.

“The Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association is trying to do everything they can to work with all tracks to get the best quarter horse racing here and staying in Alberta,” said Evergreen Park Racing Manager Pat Hill. “These races help and support quarter horse associations in both the U.S. and Canada.”

The JDA Raceway track has one of the highest percentages of quarter horse races in Canada where both quarter horses and thoroughbreds race on the same track.

“We usually like to do a third of our purse structure to run quarter horses racing … and this includes the Challenge races,” said Hill. “Our great track is one of the reasons these important quarter horse races are featured here. Having these races helps enhance the barn population.”

The Downs At Albuquerque is hosting the champion finals Oct. 24 for the second year in a row this fall.

“We commend the people behind The Downs at Albuquerque on their deep commitment to the sport of quarter horse racing,” said American Quarter Horse Racing Association Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “They have undertaken a significant task in renovating this historic racetrack, supporting integrity measures and making the Challenge Championships a truly special event. 

“If you've not been to Albuquerque, it is a wonderful holiday destination, and The Downs is a great racetrack to enjoy, as it showcases one of the greatest nights in sport,” she added. 

Two of the regional championships at JDA Raceway will be in July and three will be in August.

To view the Challenge complete schedule click here.

The racing season begins on JDA Raceway on July 11 and continues weekend until the final day of racing August 30. Here is the schedule.

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