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Acorn Solid Contender in the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship

Trainer Janet VanBebber has won three Bank of America Challenge Championships with Tailor Fit, Streakin Sin Tacha and Panther Mountain. Now based in Vinton, Louisiana, she hopes to continue that success with Acorn in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1).

The Texas-bred son of 2004 world champion, Oak Tree Special, is the 3-1 second choice in the 400-yard stakes, which will be run on Friday evening at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. He has won four of his five starts this year and qualified for the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship on July 21 at Sam Houston Race Park. He followed that with a victory in the Sam Houston Classic (G2) and an impressive win in the Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge on August 28. His lone defeat this year came in the finals of the Dash for Cash Derby (G2) at Lone Star Park last month, but VanBebber feels Acorn will return to his winning ways in Friday’s 11th race.

“He looks super; on his toes,” said VanBebber from Evangeline Downs on Wednesday morning. “He’s freshened up from his two starts at Lone Star.”

Regular rider, Alfonso Lujan, will ride Acorn, who drew the far outside post. VanBebber  continues to be appreciative of owner breeder Rose Mary Chandler, from Luling, Texas, just south of Austin.
“Rose Mary has been great,” acknowledges VanBebber. “She has been very supportive of my advice and direction in regards to Acorn. I really appreciate any owner who places the needs of the horse first and foremost.”

Chandler and her husband, Wendell, have bred and owned American Quarter Horses for 30 years. Acorn is just their second Challenge finalist; Ima Special Type competed in at Turf Paradise in the 1996 Professional’s Choice Claiming Challenge Championship.