Updated on 09/15/2011 1:20PM

Speedy Mr Mallard eyes 6-for-9 record


Quarter Horses make an appearance at Louisiana Downs on Sunday when fastest qualifier Mr Mallard goes for his sixth career win in his ninth start in the Grade 1, $218,080 Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Futurity.

There were 12 trials run over two days, Oct. 11-12, with the five fastest times from each day advancing to the finals.

Mr Mallard, owned by WPR Stables and trained by Richard Smith, is the choice. He ran the quickest qualifying time, 20.048 seconds for the 400 yards. He raced on the second day of trials, winning by three-quarters of a length as the 3-5 favorite.

Mr Mallard won the LQHBA Sale Futurity in August and was third in the Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity in September.

Trainer Kenneth Roberts has three horses in the finals - Bugs De Great, Burrs Warrior, and Miss Jessie Bug.

Marathon purse raised $125,000

Racing at 870 yards gains importance at Los Alamitos next year with the announcement that the Grade 1, $75,000 Marathon Handicap will become the $200,000 Marathon Invitational in 2002.

The new purse is $125,000 more than the added month for any other 870-yard stakes. The $200,000 prize should rank the Marathon National among the top five purses for any older horse stakes in 2002, regardless of distance.

"We are hoping that owners will look at horses running short and see a potential 870-yard runner," said Dr. Ed Allred, owner of Los Alamitos Race Course.

Challenge Championships notes

Following last week's Challenge Championships, it looks like the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 16 at Los Alamitos will attract three female trainers.

Janet VanBebber has Tailor Fit, the 1999 world champion, in top form. He won the $330,000, Grade 1 MBNA America Challenge Championship by a neck.

Connie Hall will run A Ransom, the defending world champion, ready to defend his Champion of Champions title. He won the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and the Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship this year.

Donna McArthur may have the Champion of Champions favorite in the mare Corona Kool, winner of the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Championship over A Ransom and Tailor Fit.

Hall of fame trainer Blane Schvaneveldt is pointing Ronnie Jace, winner of the Grade 1, $165,000 American Airlines Challenge Championship for 2-year-olds, at the Grade 1, $1.25 million-estimated Los Alamitos Million on Dec. 15. The only blemish on the gelding's record in the last two months is a troubled sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity.

Schvaneveldt also saddled Dashing Bye, winner of the $192,000, Grade 1 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship for 3-year-olds. Dashing Bye is headed back to Texas to take on Pivotal Decision in the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park. Pivotal Decision, undefeated this year, is the leader for champion 3-year-old honors.

Champion distance horse Sign of Lanty showed he is still the champ with a game, late-running win in the 82,500, Grade 1 $MCI WorldCom Challenge Championship at 870 yards. He has 17 wins and four seconds from his last 21 starts.

All American Derby winner Stoli ran in a minor stakes on the Challenge undercard, but he looked good while winning in front a crowd that included many breeders. He will enter stud next spring.

The fourth-highest handle ($2,076,060) in the 51-year history of Los Alamitos Race Course was bet on the Challenge card.