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Apollitical Jess’ time is too much for rivals in Super Derby trials


October 18, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Apollitical Jess sets the fastest trial time in the Los Alamitos Super Derby trials on October 17
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
The past three nights at Los Alamitos, October 15-17, were billed as autumn’s biggest weekend of Quarter Horse racing and they lived up to the hype thanks to unforgettable performances by three of the nation’s most phenomenal horses.

On Friday evening, Flying Fig set a 400-yard track record for 2-year-olds while posting the fastest qualifying time of :19.286 to the Golden State Million Futurity. It was Freaky’s night on Saturday, as the reigning world champion won his second consecutive Los Alamitos Invitational Championship in a near 440-yard track record clocking of :20.979 (look for the full story in the November issue of TRJ—The Racing Journal). Rancho El Cabresto Inc’s Apollitical Jess then wrapped up the weekend with an effort that was as impressive as any when winning the third of four trials to the $1,052,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Sunday night, October 17.

The complete list of qualifiers to the Los Alamitos Super Derby: Apollitical Jess (:19.19), Forrest Fire (:19.39), First Down King (:19.393), Princelike (:19.431) Divide The Cash (:19.466), Runnning Brook Gal (:19.474), Fabulous Fifties (:19.506), Favorite Cartel (:19.518), Ought To Azoom (:19.594) and A Game (:19.627).

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Juan Aleman, Apollitical Jess won his 400-yard heat in :19.19, a time that was only 4/100ths of a second shy of Freaky’s track record. Apollitical Jess did manage to earn a track record with his Super Derby trial effort, as his final 220-yard time of :09.15 is the fastest ever at Los Alamitos. Apollitical Jess shattered the previous mark set by Divide The Cash of :09.18 when he won the 350-yard Make It Anywhere Handicap on June 11. Apollitical Jess and Divide The Cash are the only horses with a final 220 yard time of under :09.20 in a Los Alamitos race.

Making his first start at Los Alamitos since his runner-up finish in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, Apollitical Jess was the star of the night in the trials thanks to winning time being 2/10ths of a second faster than that of second fastest qualifier and trial two winner Forrest Fire.

“Apollitical Jess stumbled at the start and Nicasio had him wrapped up in the final 50 yards after he saw that we had the race won,” Aleman said. “Apollitical Jess could have gone a lot faster, there’s no doubt about that and he definitely has the ability to go faster. We didn’t get the track record but his final 1/8th is the best ever at Los Alamitos. I’m satisfied with that. He needed this race a lot because it had been 42 since his last start at Ruidoso Downs.”

Second to Double Down Special in the All American Derby earlier this year, Apollitical Jess was also runner-up to Good Reason SA in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year. In both of those races he went into the final as the fastest qualifier, a fact that does not escape Aleman’s attention.

“He has to come back strong for the Super Derby,” the trainer said. “We’re happy that we get another shot in a Grade 1 race and we’re hoping that the third time is the charm for us to get a win. There are three weeks between these trials and the final so we’ll be easy with him during that time. The extra week of rest will help him after this really fast race. He drew the rail tonight but I wasn’t concerned about that at all. He has run from the rail before and won. When you have a high caliber horse like Apollitical Jess, they can run anywhere on the track at a high level. This horse has always been good out of the gate and today he was real sharp despite his stumble. He reminds me of his mother (multiple AQHA champion Apollitical Time) in that he is quick out of the gate and he has no problem going 440 yards. He did that in the mountain when he beat Double Down Special in their All American Derby trials. Apollitical Jess is the complete package. He can motor down the stretch and is a long striding horse.”

The sorrel colt by Mr Jess Perry has now won six of 12 starts.

“I’m happy and thrilled with this race,” said Juan Alberto Tirado Lizarraga of Rancho El Cabresto. “This horse used to be a little kid, but now he’s a first class athlete. He looks strong and tough. We’re lucky in that he is a colt and some big ranches have called us to express their interest in standing him at stud next year. Right now our focus is on this season. He’s had the top times in the All American Derby and in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million, but we still have not won a Grade 1 race. We want to win one. I think a Grade 1 win completes a horse like Apollitical Jess.”

Wells’ Forrest Fire, Ed Allred’s Princelike and Rodrigo Gonzalez’s Fabulous Fifties were the other Super Derby trial winners.

“Princelike had a very bad start but I loved the way he finished,” said trainer Jose Flores. “We are going to have to be perfect in the final to beat that airplane named Apollitical Jess.”

The Super Derby will also have added star power with the presence of 2009 All American Futurity winner Runnning Brook Gal, who finished third to Forrest Fire and First Down King in the second trial.

“She needed the race and this was her first time out at Los Alamitos,” said trainer Paul Jones of Chad Richard owned filly. “She ran a pretty good race and I think her next race will be better. The main thing was to qualify and we did that. I feel we have a pretty good shot to qualify. Ramon Sanchez did a good job ridden her. I’m happy that Ramon is back riding.”

Jones is also excited about the chances of Dunn Ranch’s First Down King.

“He only lost by a whisker,” Jones said. “I think the three weeks before starts will help him tremendously. To run every two weeks is very tough for him, so the extra time is perfect.”