Run For The Roses Meaning

(idiomatic, by extension) A hard-fought competition or demanding challenge of any kind.

Example: 1954, Lloyd Larson, "Ohio Comes Through Like Real Champ," Milwaukee Sentinel, 23 Nov., part 2, p. 2 (retrieved 24 Aug. 2009):
  Looking back at Ohio State's run for the roses, there might be some who will insist the Buckeyes were lucky to escape defeat at least once. . . . the Buckeyes whipped a jinx in the form of premature Rose Bowl talk.
1984, Lawrence Sanders, The Passion of Molly T., ISBN 9780399129728, p. 226:
  The time had come, Dundee acknowledged, to decide if he was serious about making a run for the roses. It was only mid-1990, but presidential campaigns had evolved into two-year affairs, and if he really had that famous "fire in his belly," now was the time.
2007, Kathleen Bacus, Calamity Jayne Heads West, ISBN 9780505527332, p. 136:
  I thought about leaps of faith, runs for the roses, and reaching for the stars.