08/20/2012 8:14AM

Los Alamitos: Sparky E Boy wins California Challenge, qualifies for Challenge Championship


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - Sparky E Boy overcame a troubled start to win Sunday’s $69,840 Bank of America California Challenge Stakes at Los Alamitos.

With the victory, Sparky E Boy’s first stakes win since the Town Policy Stakes in November 2010, the 5-year-old gelding earned a berth to the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows on Oct. 27.

After Sunday’s race, owner-breeder Reed Pierson and trainer Francisco Ramirez said that Sparky E Boy may remain in California for the major stakes for older horses this fall.

Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves, Sparky E Boy stumbled at the break, but recovered quickly to take the lead. He led by a half-length midway through the 440-yard race and won by a half-length over Shining First Dash, a 5-1 shot. Bf Farm Boy was third, followed by Little Bit of Baja, another Ramirez-trained runner. Sparky E Boy paid $5.80 to win.

Sparky E Boy has won 9 of 27 starts and $288,243 for Pierson, of Garland, Utah.

Pierson said the long-range goal is a start in the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 15. Last year, Sparky E Boy finished second by a nose in the Champion of Champions as a 26-1 outsider.