A lot of focus is being placed on the Grade 1 $269,627 Bank of America Challenge Championship Saturday during the Challenge Championships at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.
World champion Danjer is headlining a field of 10 for the prestigious event, but one horse in the race will be vying for more than the purse money. Fly the Coup (photo) has a bright future in the state of Indiana as the latest addition to the stallion roster at Miller Ranch in Shipshewana, Indiana.
Miller Ranch, owned and operated by Sheri and Glen Miller, is the location for Escondido Beach, the multiple award-winning stallion in the state of Indiana. The Corona Cartel’s foals have dominated the breeding program in the Hoosier State the past eight years, but with time ticking away for the 17 year old, the Millers saw a need for the next stallion to step into his hoof prints at their farm and carry on the tradition of producing top foals.
“Two years ago, we saw it was starting to wear on Escondido Beach during breeding season,” said Sheri Miller. “He’s been too good to us, and I don’t want to see him lose weight like that, so we backed off this past year, but he still bred 40 mares. We had the opportunity to purchase Fly the Coup, so we did and brought him to Indiana.”
The Millers purchased Fly the Coup with the sole intention of breeding him. But they decided to wait a year and instead of turning him out in a field, they put him back in training. The California bred raced outside of Indiana, but in the process, qualified for the Bank of America Challenge Championship being held for the first time in Indiana. It only made sense to add him to the starters in the Grade 1 event.
“We got the call that he had qualified and there was a spot to move him in, so I called Randy (Smith) and he went down and got him,” said Sheri. “He’s in very tough, and we aren’t expecting much, but it’s nice to have something in the big race.”
The eye-catching part of Fly the Coup is his maternal side. His mother, Babe On The Fly, is a double Grade 1 producing mare of Rock You and Little Talks, and her son, Fly Thru The Fire, is standing at stud in California. She earned $246,000 during her racing career before becoming a brood mare. Her foals are known to bring six figures through the sales ring, including Fly the Coup, who was a $250,000 yearling purchase, a testament to the four-year-old’s outstanding confirmation.
“I’m not sure how others looks at stallions, but I really look at the dam,” said Sheri. “And this horse’s dam is outstanding. We are really excited to get started with him at our farm in 2023.”
Fly the Coup has drawn the outside post 10 in the Bank of America Challenge Championship, the final race on the stellar card Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Juan Marquez will ride for Smith, who is Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer and working on his ninth consecutive leading trainer title in 2022.
Fly the Coup, a son of Favorite Cartel, begins at odds of 15-1 on the morning line.