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Chicks Special Angel scores powerful win in Championship Challenge | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
After a heart-breaking defeat last year, Chicks Special Angel made amends Sunday with a 1½-length victory over Ambush Alley in the $54,000 Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge.
In winning the meet's biggest race for Quarter Horses, Chicks Special Angel ran 440 yards in :21.74 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10. Eddie Aceves rode the winner for trainer Juan Sanguino and owner Miguel Sanguino of Hermiston, Ore.
The victory, worth $30,329, made amends for a fourth-place finish by Chicks Special Angel as the 3-to-5 favorite in last year's Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge.
Ambush Alley, the 2-to-1 second choice ridden by Rodolfo Arvizu, chased the winner from gate-to-wire, but was second best throughout. Ambush Alley paid $3.20 and $2.80.
It was 1½-lengths back to Alota Action, ridden by Martin Arriaga, paid a $3 show payoff. Rogue County, Eagle B Gone. Lil Bitts a Dash, One Famous Secret, Hyho Travio and Veyron completed the order of finish.
Unlike last year, when she broke poorly to lose her best chance, Chicks Special Angel rocketed from the gate and opened a 1½-length lead past mid-stretch, easily holding off Ambush Alley as the top two finishers dominated the race. The winning time was only .08 seconds off the stakes record set by Vodka With Ice last year.
"From the get go, at about 100 yards, I had the lead right away," Aceves said. "I feel like I had the race won at about 200 yards.
"She was just rolling from there on. For her to get outrun, you need a really good horse to beat her. She's fast and acts like a smart horse. She fires wherever she goes. That's the kind of horse you like to ride."
A 6-year-old Oregon-bred, Chicks Special Angel is the first filly or mare to win the Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge. By Chickspecialmongoose-Cff Plain Jane, she is 15-1-2 in 22 starts lifetime with earnings of $77,561.
With the victory, Chicks Special Angel earned a berth in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (Grade 1) Oct. 18 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
Aceves capped a big day by riding Bellingham ($6.20) to a victory in the $13,500 Zoetis Emerald Starter Allowance Challenge for Quarter Horses. It also finished a big day for the extended Sanguino family. After Miguel and Juan combined for the win with Chicks Special Angel, trainer Jose Sanguino and owner Pedro Sanguino teamed up for the win with Bellingham. Eyes Movin, trained by Juan Sanguino, finished second in the Zoetis, and the Sanguinos included both horses in the winner's circle photo. ... In Thoroughbred action, David G. Lopez and leading rider Leslie Mawing each rode two winners, and Mawing extended his lead to 85-61 on Rocco Bowen atop the standings. ... Robbie Baze led the trainers with two wins. ... Sunday's sixth race produced one of the meet's closest three-horse finishes with It's Our Pleasure ($16.60) edging Honour Family by a head for the victory, with an onrushing Mr Shane the Pain another nose back in third place. Jennifer Whitaker rode It's Our Pleasure for owner trainer Howard Belvoir. ... The Tim McCanna-trained Tiz Kissable finished second to Jojo Warrior ($4) in the $100,000 Torrey Pines (Grade 3) for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Del Mar. ... Live racing continues Monday with an 11-race card on Labor Day. First post is 2 p.m.