The American Quarter Horse Association recently released the graded stakes schedule for 2020. Canterbury Park will receive a graded stake for the first time in over ten years: the Bank of America Canterbury Park Championship Challenge will be a Grade 3 event starting in 2020.
The Bank of America Canterbury Park Championship Challenge is part of the AQHA Challenge program and offers a berth to the $330,000 Grade 1 Bank of America Challenge Championship held each fall.
Canterbury has hosted the regional qualifier since 2016; track management applied for and was awarded the race as a replacement host site following the closure of Les Bois Park.
Since 2016, two of the three winners of the Canterbury Park qualifier have continued to win the Grade 1 Challenge Championship: Ajs High in 2016 and The Fiscal Cliff in 2017. The 2018 winner, Kowboy Jim, also represented Canterbury well as the third-place finisher in the final.
Canterbury has also hosted a distaff qualifier since 2016 and after several years of applying for the race, has also been awarded a distance qualifier for 2019.
The three Challenge races will be held at Canterbury on Sunday, July 7:
$45,000-added Bank of America Canterbury Park Championship Challenge
$25,000-added ARC Canterbury Park Distaff Challenge
$20,000-added Canterbury Park Distance Challenge
Graded stakes are determined by the Graded Stakes subcommittee of the AQHA Racing Committee. Requirements for points and earnings are posted online. Canterbury has met the requirements for several races since 2018 but has only been awarded this status for 2020.