Panther Mountain earned himself a spot in next month's Champion of Champions with a 20-1 upset in the $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Alvin Brossette, the 4-year-old Meter Me Gone horse won for the 12th time in 24 starts after breaking extremely well from his inside post. He completed the 440 yards in 21.45 seconds.
Catchmeinyourdreams, who earned his spot in last night's race by upsetting reigning co-world champion Whosleavingwho in the California Challenge Championship on May 31, was second and Zookie Street was third.
Of the four other Grade I races on the card, Willie Works, a 2-year-old gelded son of Special Leader, was the most impressive winner.
A 7-2 pick in the $150,000 American Airlines Juvenile Challenge, Willie Works blew away his nine rivals in a rapid 17.36 for the 350 yards under Rodrigo Aceves.
Before the Juvenile, favored Royaltime Classic, who was very reluctant to leave the saddling paddock, was fine once the gates opened and was an impressive winner of the $100,000 Ford Distaff Challenge while Sterling Sport, the 2-1 third choice, held off Harbor Beach to win the $100,000 John Deere Distance Challenge.
Prima Ld, a 3-1 pick who had won eight of 11 in Mexico, used a late run to edge another 3-1 pick, Coronas Prospect, in the $175,000 Bayer Legend Derby Challenge.
Be a Bono, a 10-1 longshot, remained unbeaten with a head victory over 12-1 outsider Babe On the Fly in the $864,850 Golden Sate Futurity on Friday night at Los Alamitos.
The 2-year-old Bono Jazz gelding completed the 400 yards in a stakes record 19.58 seconds under G.R. Carter.