11/09/2006 1:00AM

Champ seeking his former glory


Defending world champion DM Shicago attempts to regain his Grade 1-winning form when he starts in the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship, the marquee event of the MBNA America Challenge Championships on Saturday night at Lone Star Park.

The stakes-filled program features three other Grade 1 stakes and the Grade 2, $150,000 Ford Juvenile Challenge Championship. The other Grade 1 stakes are the $200,000 Bayer Legend Derby Challenge Championship, $100,000 John Deere Distaff Challenge Championship, and the $100,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship.

DM Shicago gained a berth in the Challenge Championship after the connections of four horses ahead of the gelding on the eligibility list, including the defending winner, Catchmeinyourdreams, declined last week. That not only put DM Shicago in the 440-yard race, it made him one of the favorites.

DM Shicago was winless in his first four 2006 starts and then came through with a 1 1/2-length allowance win at 350 yards on Oct. 26 at Lone Star Park.

The gelding earned his 2005 world championship with Grade 1 wins in the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American derbies.

This Snow Is Cold could gain favoritism with her 3 wins, including 2 Grade 1 victories, and 2 seconds from 6 starts in 2006. Her Grade 1 wins came in the MBNA America Oklahoma Challenge and the MBNA America Texas Challenge.

Also in the Challenge Championship are 440-yard world-record-holder A Long Goodbye and 2005 Bayer Legend Derby Challenge Championship winner LDS Dash for Dylan, who relishes 440 yards.

The Challenge Championship winner receives an invitation to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 9 at Los Alamitos.

The Bayer Legend Derby Challenge Championship pits the New Mexico-based Look for Wranglers against 2005 Ford Juvenile Championship winner Canosa.

Look for Wranglers has seconds in the Grade 2 West Texas Derby, Grade 3 Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge and the James Isaac Hobbs Stakes. In the Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge, he was defeated by Ruidoso Downs’ 440-yard track record holder, Strawkins, who went on to win the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby. In the Hobbs, he was defeated by 350-yard world record holder Planet Holland.

Canosa has 6 wins and 5 seconds from 13 starts and was a close second in the 6666 Handicap, his prep for the Derby Challenge and his only Lone Star Park start.

Sizzling goes for her fourth straight win in the contentious John Deere Distaff Challenge Championship.

Sizzling won the John Deere West/Southwest Challenge at Arapahoe Park and then made a successful Lone Star Park debut with game nose win in the Rheudasil Handicap after a troubled start.

Former $5,000 claimer Cashin Sam will go for his third straight stakes win in the $100,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship at 870 yards. He won the Red Cell West/Southwest Distance Challenge at Wyoming Downs and then pulled away to win the Red River Handicap at Lone Star Park by 1 1/4 lengths.

Rainbow Futurity runner-up Remember Me Rose meets Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity runner-up Bridled Lightnin in the Ford Juvenile Challenge Championship.

Remember Me Rose was the 1-2 favorite in the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity and finished second. She was fifth in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity, her most recent start.

Bridled Lightnin, winner of the Grade 3 Ford Texas Juvenile Challenge, was a surprising second in the $316,000 Sam Houston Futurity at 43-1 in her latest start.