Sunday’s racing features a pair of quarter horse stakes, one being the $66,690 Bank of America Canterbury Park Challenge Championship at 440 yards. The odds-on favorite will be AJs High, trained by Charlton Hunt and owned by Michael Teel. Stormy Smith will be aboard as he has been in all 16 starts, 11 of which were wins. AJs High has lifetime earnings exceeding $460,000.
“When he gets beat, it’s because he beats himself,” Smith said.
That looks to be the case again Sunday when this multiple graded stakes winning 4-year-old lines up. The rest of the eight-horse field has 12 wins combined.
“He is a professional, but he can be a jackass,” Smith said. Once before a race he got loose for a brief second and ran into the vet truck, but still won with ease.
“Get him away from the pony and he’s fine, otherwise he will mess with that pony,” says Smith.
AJs High’s most recent start was in May at Remington Park in the Grade 1 Sooner State Stakes. He dispatched with Sam Crow, runner up in both the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby and All American Derby in 2015, by a length.
AJs High has the reputation of acting up in the paddock as well, but Hunt reports that he is getting better with age and expects no problem. When the saddle goes on and the rider goes up, AJs High will be tough to beat in Sunday’s second race. Post time for race one of the 10-race program is 12:45 p.m. If he does win, he qualifies for the third time to the Bank of America Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos this fall.
“Look at him,” Smith said Friday morning as AJs High stood patiently in the wash rack. “He doesn’t look like much. But on the track he is a professional. And he has never had it easy.”