Sent off at 23-1 odds, Mark and Peggy Brown’s Kissed By An Eagle upset a strong field that included Kindergarten Futurity winner One Proud Eagle and Beehive Futurity winner Bannister to win the $44,820 John Deere California Juvenile Challenge on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer Rafael Orozco, Kissed By An Eagle broke sharply from post number three and led from wire to wire on the way to a ¾ length victory over One Proud Eagle. The Idaho homebred by One Famous Eagle covered the 350 yards in :17.609. This was his second win in only five starts.
Kissed By An Eagle had a very troubled trip in his trial to the John Deere California Juvenile. The sorrel gelding veered in and got bumped from both sides in his trial outing and then got bumped again after lugging inwardly once more. He had no issues of this kind in the final, as he had a head advantage early on before inching away from the field with each stride from that point on. Kissed By An Eagle earned $20,617 for the win to take his career earnings to $24,655. The win earns him a spot in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship to be held here on Saturday, October 29.
Kisses have been good to the Browns over the year. Back in 2010, the couple won the $100,000 Bitterroot Futurity with a horse named Dreaming Of Kisses. Meanwhile, their dream of winning the John Deere California turned into reality thanks to another Kiss, this one named Kissed By An Eagle. The Browns have had great passion for racing since their respective youths. Mark Brown rode bareback horses and bulls and participated in chariot racing, winning the All American Chariot Futurity in Utah. Peggy’s father, Sherm Duffin, owned and raised a fair share of Quarter Horses of his own. Peggy enjoyed participating in rodeos and was a rodeo queen. She also had a trainers license and was an outrider. Mark and Peggy have been married since 1976.
Owned by Ron Hartley and trained by John Cooper, One Proud Eagle saw his three-race win streak come to an end on Saturday. Also sired by One Famous Eagle, One Proud Eagle won the Kindergarten Futurity and his trials to both the Kindergarten and the John Deere California. Ridden by Tony Guymon, One Proud Eagle earned $8,964 for the running second and has now bankrolled $194,230 964 in his career. Denny and Sandy Weigt’s Bannister earned $4,482 for running third.
Paint A Candy Storm, Red Cocoperry, Severe Clear, New Fangled, Brimmin Corona and Fooseability completed the field.