Fitz Upsets Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge
Fitz, under jockey Joseph Belloc Jr., winning the $46,980 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge,

© Coady Photography
Fitz Upsets Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge

PHOENIX, AZ—APRIL 29, 2018 — Fitz and Joseph Belloc, Jr. pulled off an unexpected win in the $46,980 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge, the featured race of Sunday’s afternoon card.

Belloc and Fitz covered the 440-yard race in 21.649 and earned a 102 speed index. Fitz ($15.00) was bet down from his 15-1 morning line. Fastest qualifier and heavy favorite Imperial Eagle finished off the board in fifth place.

Fitz is a California-bred gelding owned by Yuriana Ramirez and trained by Rigoberto Guillen. Double Bar S Ranch bred the 4-year-old, who is by Mr Jess Perry and out of the graded stakes placed mare Dividends Declared, by First Down Dash.

This was the fifth career win for Fitz, who also won the $44,935 AQRA Turf Paradise Derby in December of last year and placed third in the Turf Paradise Championship later that month. He broke his maiden in 2016 at Los Alamitos before running in the consolation stakes for the Ed Burke Million that summer.

AQRA Executive Director Loretta Brasher presents the winning connections of Fitz the Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge stakes trophy.
© Coady Photography

Fitz has never been out of the money at Turf Paradise. Sunday’s win marked his fourth win in eight starts at the track.

Fitz cleared the field by nearly a length, and Arizona Icon, the longest shot on the board, finished in second place, a neck in front of Fighter Gone Wild in third.

Arizona Icon, with Luis Rene Yescas, Jr. aboard, steadily made up ground throughout the race. The 4-year-old gelding is four for 15 lifetime and picked up his first stakes win as a 2-year-old in the $38,737 AQRA Turf Paradise Futurity in 2016.

Arizona Icon is a homebred for Las Vegas Ranch and is trained by Ralph Fales. He is by Texas Icon, out of the Feature Mr Jess mare Jess Perfect Girl, bred in Arizona.

Completing the trifecta was Fighter Gone Wild, the second fastest qualifier to the Turf Paradise Championship Challenge. Fighter Gone Wild is a 5-year-old gelding by Fighter on Fire, out of Wanna Know Now, by Mr Sailing Easy. He was bred in Colorado by Tom Lichlyter.

Emilio Tapia had the call for trainer Ubaldo Guerrero and owner Orlando Guerrero. Fighter Gone Wild was second in his trial for the regional Challenge Championship qualifier. In his previous start, he won the $17,500 Turf Paradise Championship Stakes in December of 2017 and earned a speed index of 106.

Completing the field were Jess A Cowboy, Imperial Eagle, May Be Fantastic Sa, Movin the Doe and I V Gone. Dauns First Desirio and Mr Dynasty were scratched.