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Grade 1 finalists headline La Primera Del Ano Derby trials


March 10, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Spackman Racing's Time For Jess wins her Los Alamitos $2 Million Futurity trial on November 22, 2015
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Twenty-one sophomore fillies will be in action in the running of the $227,100 La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday night, March 12, at Los Alamitos. Three trials are on tap with first post for the eight race program set for 6:00 p.m. local time. The first of the trials is race #6, scheduled for 8:20.

The trials will be headlined by All American Futurity finalist Crooked Path, Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Time For Jess and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby runner-up Jess Good Reason. The three star fillies will be in action in separate derby trials. The 400-yard heats are set as races six through eight on the card with Time For Jess seeing action in the opening trial, Jess Good Reason in the second trial, and Crooked Path in the final trial.

Racing for Steve Burns and trained by AQHA Champion Trainer Paul Jones, Crooked Path will be making her first start since winning her trial to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby. “Crooked Path ran a really good race in the trials and when it happened I thought it would be good enough to get in the final,” Jones said. “She was in one of the later trials and unfortunately her time was not fast enough to qualify.”

Crooked Path was the second fastest qualifier to last year’s All American Futurity and the only filly in the field. A half-sister to Grade 3 winner Oldsmobile Hill, Crooked Path has performed well at the Orange County oval. In addition to her Winter Derby trial win, the Favorite Cartel filly ran second in her trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

“She’s raced well every time at Los Alamitos,” Jones said. “I’ve never been disappointed with her effort.”

Cody Jensen, who had been riding Crooked Path, is currently sidelined with an injured collarbone. Ramon Sanchez will pilot the talented filly in the third and final trial in race number eight.

“Ramon Sanchez worked her (on February 26) and she did well for him (:12.50 in a 220-yard turn and work),” Jones added. “Ramon is a great jockey and I think they’ll do great together.”

Spackman Racing’s Time For Jess ran a tremendous trial race to qualify to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last December. The Apollitical Jess filly won her trial by daylight and returned to post a solid sixth place finish in California’s richest race. The big filly matured in a big way during the second half of the 2015 and could be one of the top fillies on the grounds this year. Trainer Lin Melton will saddle the Idaho bred in the opening trial. She’ll be ridden by Cruz Mendez in place of Cody Jensen from post number five.

Trainer Paul Jones will saddle John and Cina Sperry’s Holiday Handicap winner Jess Good Reason in the second trial of the night. The Good Reason SA filly finished nicely for second place in her Winter Derby trial before flying late to post an impressive second place finish in the Grade 1, $215,000 final.

“She broke a bit awkward, but she made a big run at the end of the Winter Derby,” Jones said. “I thought she was unlucky to lose. She’s a talented filly and jockey Roberto Hernandez has done a good job riding her from the beginning. I’m happy with Roberto. He’s an up and coming Quarter Horse rider.”

Jones is also looking forward to saddling McColee Land and Livestock’s Lady Perry On Fire in the opening trial.

“I’m excited about this filly,” Jones said. “She worked :17.8 (on February 27), but she stumbled out of the gate before finishing nicely. She belongs in this race.”

The Walk Thru Fire filly has great bloodlines. She’s a full sister to 2014 Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity winner Jess Walking Thru, which also ran third in the Los Alamitos Two Million, and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes runner-up Sass Me Blue and A Ransom Handicap winner and Vessels Maturity runner-up Jess Being Valiant. Lady Perry On Fire will be ridden by Oscar Peinado from post number seven.

Other top fillies in the trials include Governor’s Cup Futurity finalists Shut Out and One Sweet Runaway in the opening trial, John Deere California Challenge winner Thrice Wise and Wild West Futurity finalist Bo Dash Back in the second trial, plus Kindergarten Futurity finalist Joyous McColee Land and the lightly-raced Jess Ravin in the final trial. Owned by EG High Desert Farms, Jess Ravin won her last start by 2 1/4 lengths against allowance competition.