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PHOENIX, AZ—APRIL 8, 2017—Facing older horses for the first time in his career, Grade 2 winner Nucky rolled to a half-length win and top qualifying time for the Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge Championship Saturday afternoon at Turf Paradise.
The 10 fastest qualifiers will return to the Arizona raceway on Sunday, April 30th to vie for the winner's share of a $55,000-added purse going the classic 440-yard distance. The winner will also earn an invite the Grade 1 $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship October 14th at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
Ridden by jockey Eliazar Salas, Nucky raced over the 440-yard course in :21.523 seconds, a 105-speed index into an 18-mph headwind.
The 4-year-old son of multiple stakes sire Dominyun was making his first start for owner Rogelio Carbajal Santos and trainer Eliazar Salas. Santos purchased the bay gelding in at the January Winter Mixed Heritage Place Sale in Oklahoma City for $62,000.
Nucky showed promise early as a 2-year-old winning his first four career starts that included the Grade 2 West Texas Futurity and trials to the All American and Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. He went winless in six starts last season.
Bobby D. Cox bred Nucky in Texas from the Southern Cartel mare Southern Brook. He has compiled a (11) 5-1-1 record and banked $113,169.
Six of the ten qualifiers, including the top five, came out of the second trial race.
Multiple stakes winner Justified won the first trial by half-a-length to get the sixth fastest time of :21.973 seconds, a 94-speed index into a 20-mph headwind.
Chad Ferguson trains the Foose 4-year-old for owners Tim Holdaway and David Perry. Bred in Texas by Lucas Racing Inc. and Vaughn Cook, Justified won four straight races last year including the Canterbury Park Derby. Out of Special Leader mare Special Wave, Justifed has earned $72,474. Chase Clark had today's riding call.
For a complete list of Bank of America Turf Paradise Challenge Championship finalists, times, sires, dams, owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys CLICK HERE.