The $150,000 Zia Park Championship has been added to the qualifying format for the 2013 $750,000 guaranteed Champion of Champions it was announced earlier this week at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The Zia Park Championship will be held on Saturday, November 23 and it will take the place of the Refrigerator Handicap in this year's Champion of Champions format Past winners of the Zia Park Championship include 2006 winner Desirio, two-time winner Ketel Won and 2012 winner Prospect To The Top, last year's AQHA champion aged stallion.
The races now offering automatic berths into the 2013 Champion of Champions are: the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which was recently held on February 17 and won by defending Champion of Champions winner Rylees Boy; The Remington Park Championship (June 1); The Vessels Maturity (July 7); The All American Derby (September 1); The Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (September 29); The Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (October 13); The Los Alamitos Super Derby (November 2); The Bank of America Challenge Championship (November 9); and the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials (November 23). The Champion of Champions will be held at Los Alamitos on Saturday, December 14.
If there is a dead heat for first in any of the nine automatic berth races, there will be a shake to determine the Champion of Champions qualifier. In the event that a second berth to the Champion of Champions becomes available, the horse that finished in a dead heat would be offered the berth instead of it reverting to the Z. Wayne Griffin. Regardless of the different possible scenarios, the Z. Wayne Griffin will always have a minimum of one berth to the Champion of Champions.
As in recent years, the Grade 1 $100,000 Go Man Go on September 15 also remains part of the Champion of Champions format. If any horse wins more than one race with an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions, that berth will go to the winner of the Go Man Go (as long as there were no dead-heats for first place in any of the other qualifying races). If the connections of a horse with a starting berth decline their spot in the Champion of Champions, that berth would also revert to the winner of the Go Man Go (again as long as there are no dead heats in any of the other qualifying races). Any other available berths would be decided in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials.
The format to the Z. Wayne Griffin trials remains similar to that of past years. Horses eligible will be those that finish first, second or third in a Grade 1 race, first or second in a Grade 2 race and first in a Grade 3 race. Races for 2-year-olds or races at 870 yards are not considered. A horse not meeting those requirements can enter the Z. Wayne Griffin by paying a $5,000 fee. That $5,000 fee will be put into the purse of the Champion of Champions finals, making up the difference between the added money and the guaranteed $750,000.
Horses receiving an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions or qualifying via the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial will now be required to pay a $12,500 entry fee. In order to collect purse money a horse must actually start in the Champion of Champions and there will be no also eligible list. The winner of the Champion of Champions will earn $375,000.
The Champion of Champions has been contested at Los Alamitos every year since 1972 when Mr Jet Moore edged champions Kaweah Bar and Charger Bar. Since then, 26 of its 41 winners have been crowned World Champion by the AQHA. Easy Date, Dash For Cash, Refrigerator, SLM Big Daddy, Tailor Fit and Blues Girl Too are among the World Champions that have won the sport's most prestigious race for older horses. For complete rules refer to the Los Alamitos Stakes book or call 714-820-2788.
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