It is a difficult task to win a Challenge Championship race even once. But four horses that have the potential to attempt an even more difficult back-to-back Challenge Championship victories are expected to line up in Saturday’s Bank of America Challenge Championship races. Two of them – Bad Monkey and Danjer – come from the barn of Dean Frey.
In 2020, Madewell, Lynnder 16, Bad Monkey and Danjer all enjoyed big wins at the Challenge. All are back for another attempt this year.
Bad Monkey and Danjer are both homebreds for Frey of Stanton, California.
Danjer, 5, is a gelding owned by Frey in partnership with Downtime Enterprises LLC and Billy Smith, and is by FDD Dynasty and out of the Take Off Jess mare Shez Jess Toxic.
Bad Monkey, 3, is a gelding by Capo De Capi and out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Girls Eye Too, and Frey is his owner.
“They’re training really good,” Frey said. “I think they’re really happy, which makes me happy. They’ve settled in – I’ve been here since after Ruidoso. It’s nice and quiet and peaceful here. Weather’s been good. I think they’re happy.”
Danjer has won three of five starts this year and earned $392,055. He has a career record of 13 wins from 24 starts and earnings of $1,244,827.
The brown gelding won last year’s Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) and was honored as the sport’s champion aged gelding and champion aged horse.
In his first out this year, he was second by a nose to Jess My Hocks in the Leo Stakes (G1), then clipped off victories in the Debbie Schauf Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1), Bank of America Canterbury Park Championship Challenge (G3) and All American Gold Cup (G1). He then was second in The Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship (G1) coming into this race.
Bad Monkey last year won the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2), and this year qualified into the Adequan® Derby Challenge Championship (G3) by winning the Adequan® Ruidoso Derby Challenge in August.
He has a record of two wins and one third in five starts this year, and a career record of six wins from 12 starts and earnings of $170,836.
Frey has been a supporter of the Challenge for many years, and his horses have reaped the benefits over their careers.
In the case of his two Championship contenders, a full 76 percent of Bad Monkey’s career earnings come from the Challenge program; and 14 percent of Danjer’s career earnings come from Challenge races.
“The Challenge has been good to me,” Frey said. “I’ve been from here to Canada to California. It’s a good deal, and helps a lot of people, and everybody enjoys coming to this (Challenge Championships).”
Both horses race in the Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 23 at The Downs at Albuquerque.
Look for complete coverage of the Bank of America Challenge Championships at AQHA's website and on racing social media. If you can't attend the races live at The Downs at Albuquerque on October 23, watch on Q-Racing Video (subscription required)!