Shez Jess Toxic in Deep Merial Challenge

Merial Distaff Challenge Championship features deep field.

Q-Racing Journal
November 6, 2013

The Dean Frey-owned, -bred and -trained Shez Jess Toxic comes off a close third-place run in the $150,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1) at Los Alamitos to take on a deep field of fillies and mares in the $100,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at 400 yards.

Shez Jess Toxic (Take Off Jess-Dashing Fly Lady by Victory Dash) held a narrow lead early in the 400-yard Mildred Vessels and then fought gamely to the wire to be defeated by a head.

Back in May, Shez Jess Toxic won the Merial Remington Park Distaff Challenge by a nose to earn her spot in the Merial Distaff Challenge Championship and she then rested to point at her fall campaign at Los Alamitos. She returned in mid-August to finish a troubled second, beaten by a head, in the Merial Los Alamitos Distaff Challenge (G3).

She will face the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap winner, Check N Fetch (Check Him Out-Shyann La Jolla by Streakin La Jolla). Owned by Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez, Check N Fetch has won five of nine starts this year, headlined by the Millie Vessels. She also won the Miss Princess Handicap (G3), Independence Day Handicap and California Breeders' Matron Stakes (RG3). She was a dead-heat third in Thisfeatureisspecial's Merial Los Alamitos Distaff Challenge (G3).

Miguel Banuelos’ Kuhl Wave (Wave Carver-Shazooms Doll by Shazoom) comes to Los Alamitos after a late-running neck win as the 13-10 favorite in the $146,800 Altoona Derby (G3) at Prairie Meadows on October 11. The filly has been on a roll this year with five wins from eight starts while winning or placing in six stakes races. She won the Mr Master Bug Stakes at Remington Park and set a track record while winning the Merial Arapahoe Distaff Challenge.

Mauro Zaborowsky’s Thisfeatureisspecial (Feature Mr Jess-This Girl Is Special by Special Effort) was a close second in the Charger Bar Handicap (G2) back in January and then rested until returning to defeat Shez Jess Toxic in the Merial Los Alamitos Distaff Challenge. The Paul Jones-trained mare was then fourth, one place behind Shez Jess Toxic, in the Mildred Vessels.

Christie and Mikel Donahue’s homebred Corona Mit Go (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Missy Mit Go by Himito Dancer) comes into the Merial Distaff Challenge Championship in peak form for her Los Alamitos debut. The Stacy Charette-Hill-trained mare was second by a head in the Juno Request Stakes (G2) at Remington Park, third in the $30,000 Race For Hope Stakes at Canterbury Park and then won the $30,000 Merial Prairie Meadows Distaff Challenge by three quarters of a length as the 11-10 favorite in her most recent start.

Owned and bred by the late American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Joe Kirk Fulton, Sweet Oblivion (Mr Jess Perry-Daring Difference by Victory Dash) had trouble at the start of the Merial Sam Houston Distaff Challenge, however showed her class by rallying to a neck win as the 11-10 favorite. She was then sixth against the boys in the Higheasterjet Handicap (G3) at Ruidoso Downs after breaking out at the start, her most recent start on June 29.