10/12/2017 4:34PM

Ajs High tops Bank of America Challenge Championship on rich Quarter Horse card


Ajs High will have home court advantage on Saturday night, when he attempts to win his ninth Prairie Meadows race while facing a slew of shippers in the Grade 1, $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship.

The Championship is the richest of five challenge stakes on a Quarter Horse card worth more than $1.5 million. The challenge races have purses totaling $850,000, while another four stakes feature cumulative purses of more than $700,000.

Ajs High is one of three defending championship race-winners on the card. He captured last year’s Championship on Oct. 29 at Los Alamitos. On that same program, Time For Wine won the Grade 1 Distaff Challenge Championship and Rare Ed accounted for the Grade 1 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship. Both are back in the same races Saturday.

Ajs High enters this year’s Championship, a 440-yard stakes for 3-year-olds and up, off a victory in a Prairie Meadows qualifier on Sept. 16. He won the Grade 2 race by 1 1/2 lengths to improve his record over the local strip to 8 for 11. Stormy Smith has the mount from post 7 for Mike Teel and trainer Charlton Hunt.

The field of 12 also includes Flash N Bling, who was second last out in the Go Man Go Handicap on Sept. 3 at Los Alamitos. G.R. Carter Jr., has the mount for Reliance Ranches and trainer Cody Noel.

Other horses making up the field include shippers from New Mexico, Washington State and Canada.

Time For Wine will be making her Prairie Meadows debut when she attempts to win her fourth straight race in the $105,000 Distaff, a 400-yard dash for fillies and mares. She built her streak this year at Remington Park, where she won a trial and two graded stakes upon her arrival from Los Alamitos. Time For Wine faces eight others, including Jess Paint Your Lips, who is looking for her fifth straight win off a stakes victory at Lone Star Park. Overall, the up-and-coming Jess Paint Your Lips is 6 for 7.

Rare Ed goes 870-yards in the $105,000 Distance Challenge and comes off an Emerald Downs stakes win at the distance. Last year he dominated this race with a 1 3/4-length victory. A field of seven will go Saturday in what is the first of the challenge stakes. 

Tempting Annee GI, Vallerro and Jd Wagon Boss all will be seeking their fourth straight wins when they meet in the $130,000 Juvenile Challenge. The 350-yard race drew a field of 11. Tempting Annee GI, who drew the rail, won a qualifier at Will Rogers, while Vallerro enters off a qualifying stakes win at Prairie Meadows. Jd Wagon Boss is undefeated and gets Lasix for the first time.

Rock About It will vie for favoritism in the $180,000 Derby. The 400-yard race drew a field of 10. Other top contenders include Jc Wild Rose, Dauns First Desirio and Genuine Version. 

Rock About It, who breaks from post 3, enters off a third-place finish in the Dash For Cash Derby at Lone Star Park. He was beaten a neck in a year in which he’s run first, second, or third in eight of his nine starts, with the lone deviation from that form a sixth-place finish in the Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park. In that race he faced eventual All American Derby winner Hold Air Hostage. 

• Perfect Lota will start as a top contender in the second richest race of the night, the $289,830 Valley Junction Futurity. She was a length and a quarter winner of her trial for the 350-yard finale.