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Sweet Aguila, Jess Mas head La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday

March 31, 2017     E-mail this page to a friend!

Connie Hall, Donna McArthur, Kelly Long, and Janet VanBebber are some of the great women Quarter Horse trainers with major stakes wins at Los Alamitos to their names. Yanet Rodriguez and Elena Andrade have joined this list in recent years thanks to some outstanding stakes runners.

Rodriguez has enjoyed great success in the past two years, training winners of the Ed Burke Million Futurity and Kindergarten Futurity with AQHA champion Walk Thru Crystal. Andrade also enjoyed a nice year in 2016, as she saddled several stakes finalists and won her first graded stakes winner thanks to Uno Corona Mas in the Southern California Derby. Rodriguez and Andrade now look to add another highlight to their list of accomplishments, as they’ll each be represented by a talented filly in the $220,400 La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday (April 1) at Los Alamitos. First post is 6:10 p.m. local (Pacific) time.

Sweet Aguila broke close to the leader in her trial race and then finished great to win her trial by a half-length. "She's not fast out of the gates, but she finishes strong," Rodriguez said. “She's a filly that we've had trouble with because it's hard to maintain her weight. We've gotten her to eat now."

The One Sweet Jess filly will be making her second stakes appearance. She qualified to the $430,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity last year. Sweet Aguila is out of the multiple Grade 1 stakes finalist First Magical Dash. She was sixth in the 2008 Ed Burke Million Futurity and fourth in the 2009 Governor's Cup Derby. First Magical Dash also participate in the 2010 Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which also featured champions Freaky and Jess You And I and multiple Grade 1 winner Separate Bet.

The stallion One Sweet Jess is also the sire of Steve Burns and Oscar Andrade’s Jess Mas, the winner of the first division of the La Primera trials in wire-to-wire fashion.

Elena Andrade also bred the talented Jess Mas, which makes her a very special filly for the trainer. “We ran and raised her mother Corona Mas Fina and then we bred Jess Mas. It’s been our lifelong dream to breed and race a graded stakes horse and Jess Mas has made that dream a reality. She came into the trials with her heart pumped up after winning her previous start. She ran a nice race in the trials.”

Abigail Kawananakoa’s Staggering Strides, a half-sister to champion FDD Dynasty, was bumped on the way to running fourth as a big favorite to Jess Mas in the trials. The filly could deliver in the final, as she could be tough to catch with a good start.

Jeff Aldstadt and Kim Pitcher’s Start Somethin Bad will be making her second major stakes appearance. The filly was the fastest qualifier to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity last year and also competed in two other stakes events. She looks to be a major player in this event.

Red And Ready, Jess Pretending, Hooting For Hotlips, Tough To Figure, Janes Cartel and Smell Perfume will complete the field.

(Note: Go to for the trials report.)

Los Alamitos Race Course reported on March 30 that Trippys Royal Jess tested positive for the B2-agonist Zilpaterol on a hair sampled on March 15 following her La Primera Del Ano Derby trial victory on Saturday, March 11. Trippys Royal Jess had posted the fastest of 10 qualifying times to the 400-yard race, but has now received a non-time in the trials to this Saturday’s La Primera final. Staggering Strides takes Trippys Royal Jess’s place in the La Primera final.