Apr 16, 2016

JRC Callas First Win the $107,730 Bank Of America Texas Challenge Championship




The Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2) continues to produce stellar performances by top 440-yard Quarter Horse standouts. Last year it was Daytona B who delivered a track-record-setting performance. In tonight’s edition of the $107,739 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2), 2014 AQHA world champion JRC Callas First showed exactly why he received the highest honor in Quarter Horse racing.  

With confident handling by first-time rider Jerry Lee Yoakum, the 6-year-old son of Winners Award broke like a rocket from the far inside post, and never relinquished his lead. The final time of the 440 yard stakes in :21.453, with gusty winds, clocked at 20 mph.

Bred in Texas by J R Cass, JRC Callas First is owned by Dana and Brian Stroud and trained by Brian. He recorded the fourth-fastest qualifying time of :21.679 in trials on March 25.  Stroud tapped veteran rider Yoakum who fit the bay gelding like a glove.

“There was a little bit of pressure,” said Yoakum, when asked about riding the world champion. “This horse is not difficult to ride at all. I really didn’t do anything but hold on. He left there like a rocket and got even faster down the racetrack. I want to thank Brian and Dana for letting me ride; he’s a real nice horse.”

Stroud had confidence in his charge, who came into the final with a record of 16 wins from 26 starts.

“He looked like he did a couple of years ago,” said Stroud. "He was a little flat in the trials and obviously needed that race. The team did a great job. The grooms deserve all the credit; they work with him every day. Jerry Lee did a tremendous job, stepping on a horse he had never galloped in the morning, much less rode.”

For the second year in a row, Ted G. Abrams, Sr. homebred Jessies First Down, a son of Fdd Dynasty, was the fastest qualifier. And for the second year in a row, he had to settle for a runner-up finish for trainer Judd Kearl and jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, finishing 1 ¼ lengths behind JRC Callas First.

“It’s tough,” said Ted G. Abrams, Jr. who was on hand with family and friends. “But the winner ran a very good race.”

2014 Bank of America Challenge Champion Stimulus ran third. Bred by Jerry Windham, the 6-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry is owned by Jose F. Hernandez and returned in trials off a one-year layoff to post the second-fastest time. Poker Chip 831 completed the superfecta, followed by Rc Me Leaving You, Ojo de Rey, Ipolito, J Bar and Eyes Your Date. Exquisite Stride was an early scratch.

JRC Callas First was sent off as the second-betting choice and returned $7.40 for the win. He earned $49,566 this evening, vaulting him over the $600,000 mark in career earnings.  With the win, he will advance to the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos on Saturday, October 29.

“The chance to go to California is great and to run in the Championship,” added Stroud. “But what we are really hoping for is a chance to get that berth into the Champion of Champions. We’re really aiming for that opportunity.”

Stroud mentioned that JRC Callas First might run once again at Sam Houston Race Park in the Sam Houston Classic, and then at Retama Park, where he will defend his title in the TQHA 550 Stakes.

Imflashinthechicks Cruises in the $19,000 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2)
  A full field of eight Paints went postward in the $27,020 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2) and for the second year in a row, Imaflashinthechicks was a dominant winner.  

The 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred drew off by almost 3 lengths under Manuel Gutierrez. Trained by Esteban Rubio, he covered 350 yards in :17.812.

Owned by Racin RMS, the son of Royal Quick Flash won his eighth race from 18 starts.

Runaway Pecosa was second followed by Cat Scratch Dash and Camo Cowgirl rounding out the top four.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including our Suite Level presented by Draft Kings, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming group events, racing events, shows and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.