Jim Tipps Racing LLC and Winning Stables Inc’s Impacto will try stakes competition from a new barn when the Florida-bred gelding goes to the post in the Grade 3 Michelob Ultra Challenger at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday. A field of six 4-year-olds and older will go a mile-and-a-sixteenth competing for the winner’s share of the $100,000 purse.

Trainer Gerald Bennett claimed Impacto for $32,000 out of his last race when he won by two lengths against second condition optional claimers going a mile-and-40-yards at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 11. This will be the second career start against stakes horses for the 5-year-old Impacto, who was third in the $49,500 Don Getty Handicap won by Decoy at Century Downs in October.

That ended a three-race win streak for Impacto that started with a three-and-three-quarter-length score against $17,000 optional claimers at Century Mile in July and continued through a length-and-a-half triumph in a $35,000 optional claiming at Century Downs in October.

Impacto is by Double Diamond Farm stallion First Dude out of Rara, by Tiz Wonderful and was bred in Florida by Jose Manuel Contreras. The consistent gelding has won half of his 12 career starts with two seconds and two thirds with earnings of $96,306.

He is 10-1 on the morning line and will be ridden from post six by Javier Castellano.

The even-money favorite in the program is Skippylongstocking for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

A winner of the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic going a mile-and-an-eight in August, Skippylongstocking was then third behind winner Cody’s Wish in the Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 4. In one start since, the 5-year-old was pulled up but walked off the track following the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational won by National Treasure at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27.

Others set for the Challenger are Mbagnick (Chi) with Marcos Meneses named to ride, Dynamic One with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, Sherlock’s Jewel will carry Tyler Gaffalione and Dash Attack and jockey Junior Alvarado.

Return to the March 8 issue of Wire to Wire