10/30/2016 2:42PM

Ajs High edges odds-on favorite in Bank of America Challenge Championship


CYPRESS, Calif. - Ajs High recorded his richest victory, and won for the 13th time in his 20th start, in Saturday’s $353,500 Bank of America Challenge Championship for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos.

Ajs High ($12.60) ran 440 yards in 21.54 seconds, finishing a head in front of 3-5 favorite Bh Lisas Boy in a field of 12. Ridden by Stormy Smith, Ajs High trailed early leader Tempting Valor before taking the lead midway through the race.

The victory was the first stakes win for Ajs High since the Canterbury Challenge Championship in Minnesota in July, which earned the 4-year-old gelding a berth in Saturday’s race. Smith won his first stakes at Los Alamitos in the Challenge Championship.

Saturday’s win gave Ajs High a berth in the $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10. Owner Michael Teel and trainer Charlie Hunt said they would assess Ajs High’s condition in coming weeks before deciding whether to stay in California.

The Bank of America Challenge Championship was the richest of 10 stakes on Saturday, five of which were worth $125,000 or more.

Jess Good Reason, the winner of the La Primera Del Ano Derby for fillies in April, won her second major stakes of the year in the $202,000 Derby Challenge Championship at 400 yards.

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Ridden by Oscar Peinado, Jess Good Reason ($5.20) led throughout to win by a half-length over the New Mexico shipper Bf Fooserageous, a 6-1 shot. Jess Good Reason, who races for John and Cina Sperry and trainer Paul Jones, was timed in 19.73 seconds.

One Proud Eagle won his second stakes of the year in the $151,250 Juvenile Challenge Championship for 2-year-olds at 400 yards. Owned by Ron Hartley and trainer John Cooper, One Proud Eagle ($6.20) finished a half-length in front of the Texas shipper Born to B Bad.

One Proud Eagle, who was ridden by Tony Guymon, ran 350 yards in 17.52 seconds. Earlier this year, One Proud Eagle won the Kindergarten Futurity, the first stakes of the year for 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos.

Time for Wine, who previously raced in Texas, won her California debut in the $125,000 Distaff Challenge Championship at 400 yards. Ridden by Felipe Calderon, Time for Wine ($19.20) was timed in 19.77 seconds.

A 4-year-old, Time for Wine finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of Political Nonsense, a 21-1 outsider. Time for Wine races for Pete Scarmardo and trainer Brian Stroud.

In the $125,000 Distance Challenge Championship, Rare Ed ($13.20) gave veteran Los Alamitos jockey Ramon Guce his richest career win. Rare Ed won for the first time at 870 yards in his sixth start. He qualified for Saturday’s race by finishing third in the Turf Paradise Distance Challenge in May and gained a berth after several other runners were not sent to California for the race.

Rare Ed was timed in 45.69 seconds. He led throughout to win by 1 3/4 lengths over 6-1 Jessa Little Rusty. Rare Ed, who was timed in 45.69 seconds, races for Suzan Crotts and Martin Marin and is trained by Suzan’s husband, Jim.