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© Andrea Caudill / AQHA Racing
By Andrea Caudill
Q RACING—OCTOBER 22, 2020—Trainer John Hammes of Holly, Colorado, has always been a strong supporter of the Bank of America Racing Challenge, and this year is now different, as he will saddle three horses running in Saturday’s Challenge Championships, all of which he owns in whole or in partnership.
Stepping up in the $250,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) is Heza Blues Man, whom Hammes owns outright. The 4-year-old gelding is by Favorite Cartel and is out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Eyesa Blues Girl, and is bred by Nutrena Challenge Champion Breeder Dr. Steve Burns.
The horse has won or placed in 13 of 25 starts in his career and earned $96,987. He raced for a partnership, and then the estate of Tom Bradbury, before Hammes bought the horse at the end of 2019.
This year, he has competed against tough graded stakes company, including a third-place finish in the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Championship Challenge (G2) and a fourth-place run in the Two Rivers Stakes (G3), his most recent start.
“He’s run tough all year, just been in with some of the best older horses in the country,” Hammes said. “He’s never had a soft spot yet. We’re still going bear hunting (this weekend).”
Purty Darn Quick is their $125,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) contestant, and runs in a partnership between Hammes and the estate of Tom Bradbury, who also bred him. The sorrel gelding is by Jess Louisiana Blue and out of the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare Now Margaret.
Bradbury is a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and passed away last year.
Purty Darn Quick has won half his six career starts and has earned $57,362.
He won the John Deere Prairie Meadows Juvenile Challenge and most recently was fourth in the Valley Junction Futurity (G3).
“He’s a decent colt,” Hammes says of his consistent runner.
In the $100,000 Cox Ranch Distaff Challenge Championship (G1), Edelman will compete for a partnership between John and his son, Nick.
The Hammeses acquired the horse named after the Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman in 2017 as they were looking for a distance prospect. The horse earlier this year was second in the AQHA Canterbury Distance Challenge.
Hammes is a member of the AQHA Racing Council, and is a strong supporter of the Bank of America Racing Challenge, and is well represented again this year.
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