Mild Upsets in Retama Challenge Stakes

Jess A Comment and Adoring Jess both punch tickets for the Challenge Championships.

August 11, 2012

Horses sent off at odds of 9-2 had good luck on Saturday night at Retama Park, as the winners of both Bank of America Racing Challenge stakes paid $11 to their backers.

In the first stakes of the night, Michael Amburn’s Jess A Comment held on to win the $38,880 Adequan Retama Derby Challenge with Luis Ramirez up for trainer Guy Hopkins. The gelding by First Comment set the fastest qualifying time of :19.816 for 400 yards in the trials and improved on that to post a clocking of :19.714 with a head victory in the final. In addition to a check for $17,884, the Texas-bred earned a spot in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) to be held October 27 at Prairie Meadows.

Bred by Raymond Loup out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Quick Fun, Jess A Comment picked up his first stakes victory after four previous tries against stakes foes, including a fifth-place finish in last year’s Texas Classic Futurity (G1). His record now stands at 11-4-2-0 with earnings of $97,922. Jess A Comment became the first stakes winner sired by the First Place Dash stallion First Comment, a Grade 1 winner who won 13 of 27 starts and nearly $400,000 for breeder and owner J.W. Owens.

Francisco J. Garza’s Jumpn Beau Chick, who earlier in the meet won the TQHA Sires’ Cup Derby (RG3), put in a big effort to finish second. Espinoza Stone Inc.’s Im The Key, a gelding by Shazoom, was a nose back in third.

Second-fastest qualifier Jess Tee Off, the 6-5 favorite, was eased across the wire and vanned off.

After finishing second in the Adequan Challenge, owner Francisco J. Garza scored a victory in the $52,200 John Deere Retama Juvenile Challenge with Adoring Jess. The Mr Jess Perry filly opened up a half-length lead out of the gate and held on to win by a neck in :17.736 for 350 yards. David Alvarez rode the Louisiana-bred for trainer Bobby Martinez.

Bred by Grant Farms LLC out of the First Down Dash mare First To Adore, Adoring Jess broke her maiden in the trials with the third-fastest qualifying time. She entered the final with a bankroll of $2,485 and picked up another $24,012, plus a berth in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Prairie Meadows.

Fastest qualifier and 3-2 favorite Sheaintcrynrealtears came on late to take second for breeders and owners Tawn and Alan Perkins. Yadira Ramos’ Runaway Bye RR finished third.