Burgart Blog: Pocatello Challenge Stakes
Get handicapping tips on this weekend’s Challenge races at Pocatello Downs.

© Kira Crook
Burgart Blog: Pocatello Challenge Stakes

By Ed Burgart

Q-RACING—SEPTEMBER 25, 2021—The Secret Prize is my selection to defeat Lil Longmire in Saturday's regional John Deere Juvenile Challenge finals at Pocatello Downs, while I see a two-horse battle between FDD Swingin Dynasty and Pattys Saint in the regional Q-Racing Video Pocatello Distaff Challenge finals on the same card.

The winners of the aforementioned two races earn berths to their respective finals at the 2021 Bank of America Challenge Championship night October 23 at The Downs at Albuquerque.

In handicapping both races, I utilized handicapping techniques that emphasized speed figures, class, quality of prior competition, distance success and track preference. While the trials were held at the Eastern Idaho Fair, Saturday's finals are at Pocatello Downs.

$52,000 John Deere Pocatello Juvenile Challenge

On speed figures from the three trial races which determined the 10 fastest qualifiers, Lil Longmire at :17.54 and The Secret Prize at :17.62 ran 1 3/4 and 1 1/4 lengths quicker, respectively, than third-fastest qualifier Eagle Assault, who went :17.82.

Now I will admit I didn't have the luxury of looking at video-tape replays of the trials from Idaho, but with such a large margin in qualifying times between the fastest three qualifiers, I expect Lil Longmire or The Secret Prize to emerge victorious.

Why do I think The Secret Prize can turn the tables on Lil Longmire? In his runner-up trial out, The Secret Prize was in Post 2 and now moves to a more comfortable Post 8. The Secret Prize has also competed over the Pocatello Downs oval where he has compiled one win and three seconds from four starts. Three races ago, he finished a head behind The Mound Eagle, who ran second this year in the Sweetwater Futurity.

Lil Longmire has never raced at Pocatello Downs, but has the rising speed figures that stamp her as a major contender. She has only started three times and earned a solid 80 Equibase speed figure in her trial win.

Other horses I expect to perform well are Eagle Assault, Empowered To Prosper and KR Hercules.

Eagle Assault is the third-fastest qualifier and showed he liked the Pocatello Downs oval four races back when dropping a head trial photo versus Zoomin For Trix, who since ran second in The Plan Handicap at Los Alamitos.

Empowered To Prosper scored his two victories this year at Pocatello Downs and was third in the Emerald Downs regional Juvenile Challenge finals won by Apolinaria Prize, who was third earlier this year in the Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass.

And KR Hercules – who is a half-brother to 2018, $125,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G3) winner KR Hi Five – ran fourth in the regional John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge and was third in a prior trial versus recent PCQHRA Breeders Futurity winner Dasha Good Reason.

$31,525 Q-Racing Video Distaff Regional Challenge

I will be very surprised if either FDD Swingin Dynasty or Pattys Saint don't earn a berth to Albuquerque in this 400-yard race.

FDD Swingin Dynasty, who starts from Post 4, has already captured the regional Bank of America Pocatello Championship Challenge when beating the opposite sex 10 weeks ago. In her last four starts at 400 yards, FDD Swingin Dynasty has compiled two wins and one second. She has also captured 50 percent of her 12 lifetime starts.

Pattys Saint has been a win machine as well during an 11-race career in which she has scored seven victories and three second-place finishes. She has already won two Intermountain derbies this year and was second two outs back versus The Prize Ferrari, who since captured the Bitterroot Derby.

But with FDD Swingin Dynasty entering with a 440-yard victory in her last start, I give her a fitness edge for 400 yards. Pattys Saint's last victory came at 300 yards and she has only two prior 400-yard attempts in which she has posted one win and one second.

Duck Dash N Go is also a contender although her best races have come at shorter distances. She won a 300-yard stakes at Los Alamitos in 2019 and was second in this race one year ago at Pocatello Downs.

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