The Brazilian-bred Jake Gold BR became the California representative to the Grade 1 Bank of America Championship Challenge following a solid head victory over the hard-knocking Ric Oh Shay in the $69,660 Bank of America California Championship Challenge at 440 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
The win gives the Clodoaldo De Oliveria Miranda’s Jake Gold BR a berth to the $350,000 Bank of America Championship for the second year in a row and he’ll want redemption. Jake Gold BR was the South American representative in the final held at Prairie Meadows in Iowa last year, but he only beat two horses while finishing in tenth place.
“He’ll go into this year’s Bank of America Championship a lot better,” trainer Paul Jones said. “He traveled all the way from Brazil last year and we barely had enough time to get him ready for the Challenge. He also did not have an out over the track at Prairie Meadows. It’s a little different this time. He’s won two stakes races in the United States since last year’s Bank of America Championship and he’s also posted several other strong races here.”
Named the AQHA South American Champion in 2014, Jake Gold BR won his first stakes races in the United States in the $60,000 Christmas Invitational at Los Alamitos on December 13. The Christmas Invitational was the second of three consecutive victories at Los Alamitos posted by the horse bred by the late Gianni Franco Samaja. Jake Gold BR finished third to Matabari in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship and third to Moonist in the Kaweah Bar Handicap earlier this year. Prior to this race, Jake Gold BR dueled for the lead before crossing the wire in fourth place to multiple stakes winner Far Niente in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity.
“He’s highly regarded by a lot of people in Brazil and they’re so proud of what he’s done in the United States,” Jones added. “He’s still a stallion and someday his owner will take him back to Brazil to breed him. With what he has accomplished in this country, he’ll be well received and be high demand as a stallion back home.”
Ridden by Cesar De Alba, the gray horse sired by Gold Medal Jess covered the quarter of a mile distance in :21.854 while posting his fifth win in 11 starts. He earned $34,133 to take his earnings to $115,119. Jones added that the horse could also remain at Los Alamitos instead of traveling to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas for the Bank of America Challenge Championships to be held on November 7.
“He’s done well racing here,” Jones said. “Moonist and Far Niente are two outstanding older horses competing at Los Alamitos, but Jake Gold BR is right there as well. We’d love to see him in the Champion of Champions.”
Alvin Cross Child’s Ric Oh Shay earned $14,629 for running second for trainer James Glenn Jr. and jockey Eulices Gomez. Angel Villalobos’ French Fury earned $7,314 for running third. Joe Legacy, New Look, Funny Munny, and SMS Boogie Nanu completed the field. Rylees Boy was scratched.