Challenge Purses Surpass $100 Million

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The Bank of America Racing Challenge provides tremendous support to racing horsemen.

The Bank of America Racing Challenge has surpassed a historic milestone with the program paying out more than $100 million in purses to enrolled racing American Quarter Horses.

For nearly 30 years, the Bank of America Racing Challenge has provided significant racing opportunities to horsemen and horses of all ages and abilities around the world.

“This is a remarkable achievement for a program that was created by horsemen for horsemen,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “The Racing Challenge has improved the lives of horsemen and has been relied on to bring significant races to a wide variety of race meets. We thank everyone for their support and look forward to the Challenge’s continued success.”

This enrollment-based incentive program, operated by the American Quarter Horse Association, offers divisions that cover a wide spectrum of competition:

  • The Bank of America Championship Challenge is a 440-yard race for 3-year-olds and older. It showcases some of the industry’s finest horses.
  • The Adequan® Derby Challenge is a 400-yard race for 3-year-olds.
  • The John Deere Juvenile Challenge is a 350-yard race for 2-year-olds.
  • The Q-Racing Video Distaff Challenge race is reserved for fillies and mares 3 years old and older. The race is run at 400 yards.
  • The AQHA Distance Challenge race spotlights the distance specialists, running at 870 yards, and is open to all 3-year-olds and older.

Horses compete in regional stakes races around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America, and the winners are invited to a year-end championship event held in the fall.

This premier event was designed to showcase some of the sport’s finest older horses and the next generation of leaders – futurity and derby horses, the country’s top fillies and mares, and the distance specialists. The location of this event moves around the United States. An American Quarter Horse can gain lifetime enrollment in the Bank of America Racing Challenge with a single enrollment. The cost varies depending on the horse’s age. Weanlings enrolled prior to December 31 can be enrolled for only $300.

The 2021 Bank of America Challenge Championships are slated for October 23 at The Downs at Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Challenge program’s all-time leading money earner is Rylees Boy, who earned $578,214 of his $1,417,264 career earnings, or 41 percent of his career income, in the Challenge program. Many horses have used Challenge races to achieve champion awards and pad their lifetime earnings, including world champions Down With Debt, Tailor Fit and Streakin Sin Tacha.

For more information on the program, visit or call 877-222-7223.

AQHA news and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit

Sarah Davisson
AQHA Director of Communications and Special Events