The Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship has been added to the qualifying format for the 2017 Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions it was announced earlier this week at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Held at The Downs Racetrack and Casino in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship was first contested in 2015 with AQHA World Champion JRC Callas First winning the inaugural running. 2017 will mark the first time that the Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship will be part of the Champion of Champions format.
The other nine races offering automatic berths into the 2017 Champion of Champions are: the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (February 17); The Remington Park Championship (June 3); The Vessels Maturity (July 2); The All American Derby (September 3); The Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (September 24); The Bank of America Challenge Championship (October 14); The Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (October 15); The Los Alamitos Super Derby (November 12); and the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials (November 19). The 45th running of the Champion of Champions at 440 yards will be held at Los Alamitos on Saturday, December 16.
If there is a dead heat for first in any of the nine automatic berth races this year, there will be a shake to determine the Champion of Champions qualifier. In the event that a berth to the Champion of Champions becomes available, the horse that finished in a dead heat would be offered the berth. Regardless of the different possible scenarios, the Z. Wayne Griffin will always have a minimum of one berth to the Champion of Champions. The horse with the fastest time in the Z. Wayne Griffin trials will advance to the Champion of Champions. The winner of the Champion of Champions will earn $300,000.
As in recent years, the Grade 1 $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap on September 3 also remains part of the 2017 Champion of Champions format. If any horse wins more than one race with an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions, that berth will then 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.
Horses are eligible to run in the Z. Wayne Griffin Trials if they finish first, second or third in a Grade 1 race, first or second in a Grade 2 race, or first in a Grade 3 race or Restricted Grade 1 race. A horse not meeting those requirements can enter the Champion of Champions trials by paying a $5,000 fee. Races for 2-year-olds or races at 870 yards are not considered. 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 Champion of Champions was first contested at Los Alamitos in 1972 when Mr Jet Moore edged champions Kaweah Bar and Charger Bar. Since then, 28 of its winners have been crowned World Champion by the AQHA, including the 2015 Champion of Champions winner Heza Dasha Fire. Jim Walker’s Zoomin For Spuds won last year’s running of the Champion of Champions. 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 and requirements please visit the updated Los Alamitos Stakes book at losalamitos.com or call 714-820-2788. Horses participating in the 2017 Champion of Champions must be on the grounds at Los Alamitos Race Course three weeks prior to the race. All participants will be hair tested.
THE ROAD TO THE 2017 CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
(Races offering automatic starting berths)
Los Alamitos Winter Championship on February 17
Remington Park Championship on June 3
Vessels Maturity on July 2
All American Derby on September 3
Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap on September 24
Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship TBA
Bank of America Challenge Championship on October 14
Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 15
Los Alamitos Super Derby on November 12
Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on November 19
If an additional berth should open up, the winner of the Go Man Go Handicap on September 3rd will receive that open berth.
In order to collect purse money a horse must actually start in the 2017 Champion of Champions. All starters receive a portion of the purse. There will be no also eligible list.
Purse Breakdown (1) $300,000, (2) $96,000, (3) $60,000, (4) $42,000, (5) $30,000, (6) $21,000 (7) $15,000, (8) $12,000, (9) $12,000, (10) $12,000.