|MBNA America Challenge Championships
Return to LSP Saturday Night
Some of the world’s fastest
horses will converge in North Texas on Saturday night (Nov. 2) to compete
in the Super Bowl of American Quarter Horse racing – the 10th running
of the MBNA America Challenge Championships. Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
will play host to the all-star night of racing for the third time. Ten
of the 13 races that night will be stakes races, and five are Grade 1
events which help comprise the Challenge Championships.
In addition, five other stakes races will be staged Friday night (Nov.
1) to serve as a prelude to the MBNA America Challenge Championships.
All told, 15 stakes event cumulatively worth more than $1 million –
$110,000 on Friday and $912,500 on Saturday – will be run over a
The first live race on Friday and Saturday is 6:35 p.m. (CST). Lone Star
Park’s gates will open at 5:30 p.m. (CST) both nights.
The MBNA America Challenge Championships rivals a track and field competition
at the Olympics. There are exciting races for distance specialists, both
sexes and all ages. It’s American Quarter Horse racing’s equivalent
to Thoroughbred racing’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred
Championships, which were staged Saturday at Arlington Park near Chicago.
The highlight of evening is the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge
Championship, a sprint at the classic distance of 440 yards for 3-year-olds
and up. Other showcased events are the Grade 1, $175,000 Bayer Legend
Derby for 3-year-olds at 400 yards; the Grade 1, $150,000 American Airlines
Juvenile for 2-year-olds at 350 yards; the Grade 1, $75,000 Ford Distaff
for older fillies and mares at 400 yards; the Grade 1, $75,000 MCI WorldCom
Distance for 3-year-olds and up at the marathon distance of 870 yards,
and the $50,000 Professional’s Choice Challenge Championship for
3-year-olds and up at 350 yards.
Each of the participants qualified to Saturday’s championship by
competing in the $4.25 million MBNA America Challenge, a purse and bonus
awards program. A total of 58 races took place in 10 regions across the
United States, Canada and Mexico throughout the year. American Quarter
Horses competed in one of six different types of races, depending on their
age, sex and ability. A win in a regional race qualifies a horse to run
in each respective championship race at the MBNA America Challenge Championships
if the horse is nominated to the program.
The other stakes races on the program for MBNA America-eligibility preferred
horses are the $25,000 Texas Quarter Horse Association Stakes for 3-year-olds
and up at 440 yards; the $25,000 Nutrena Stakes for 3-year-olds and up
at 350 yards; the $25,000 Sooner Trailer Stakes for 3-year-olds at 400
yards, and the $12,500-added AQHYA Claiming Stakes for 3-year-olds and
up at 350 yards.
This will be the third time Lone Star Park will host the Challenge Championships.
It played host to 10,395 fans in 1998 and 7,234 patrons in 2000. A total
of $1,659,480 was wagered on the races in 2000, which remains a Lone Star
Park “Fall Meeting of Champions” record.
All of the races will be televised live on TVG Network.
On Friday, Lone Star Park will host a stakes quintet: the $25,000 American
Quarter Horse Racing Journal Stakes for 2-year-olds at 350 yards; the
$25,000 Hertz Rent-A-Car Stakes for older fillies and mares at 400 yards;
the $25,000 Los Alamitos Distance Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 870
yards; the $20,000 6666 Ranch Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 400 yards,
and the $15,000 Gridiron Gallop for 3-year-olds and up at 100 yards.
Contested over 100 yards, the Gridiron Gallop is the shortest stakes
race in the world and is usually run in just a little more than six seconds.