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Fols Jesse Captures Cypress Handicap

Jesse James Jr gelding earns second stakes victory at Los Alamitos.

January 21, 2013

Owned and bred by Mesa Valley Farms LLC, Fols Jesse scored his second stakes victory at Los Alamitos Race Course following a dominating performance in the $25,000 Cypress Handicap for 4-year-olds on Sunday night.

Trained by Mark Skeen and ridden by Joel Cruz, Fols Jesse is actually three-for-four at Los Alamitos, as he also won an allowance race at the California track prior to stakes wins in the Kip Didericksen Handicap and this Cypress victory. He finished third in the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap in his only other Los Alamitos start.

“He’s been fantastic here,” said owner Bob Feilner of Mesa Valley Farms. “He’s been very consistent here and his time tonight was right along with all of his other races here. He ran (350 yards) in :17.50, which is what he’s been doing here in his other races.”

After winning the Kip Didericksen, Fols Jesse traveled to Prairie Meadows in Iowa to compete in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1). The New Mexico-bred son of Jesse James Jr finished fifth to Ultimate Wave in that race, but Feilner thought it was a better-than-looked effort from his gelding.

“Other than the winner, we were right there in that race,” he said. “He got beat less than a head for second-place. Maybe he didn’t like the cold weather, but he still ran a pretty good race. He broke pretty good in this race. I don’t think the jockey really had to use the whip in this race. He’s the kind of horse that you like to own and we are fortunate to have him in our barn.”

Feilner is excited about his stable of runners for 2013. While his allowance-winning aged mare Sheza Hot Catch will be going to the breeding shed, Fols Jesse will continue his racing career alongside a 3-year-old runner and four 2-year-old prospects. In past years, Mesa Valley Farms have also campaigned Catchinon, who won the Bayer Legend California Derby Challenge (G1) at Los Alamitos in 2008. He would go on to finish second in the Grade 1, $200,000 Derby Challenge Championship to Gallant Ways at Evangeline Downs.

“My dad was the horseman and he’s the one that got our family going in the business,” said Feilner, who spends time between Utah and Arizona. “We were spoiled early on when we first started in the business in the 1980s because our first horse qualified to the Colorado State Futurity, which at the time had a $250,000 purse. That horse is actually in Fols Jesse’s pedigree on the mother’s side three generations back. Right away that kept us interested in the horses.”

Fols Jesse earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $60,925. He also improved his record to five wins in 12 starts. Fols Jesse was very impressive in victory, but he also benefited from enjoying a clean trip in a race that featured a double disqualification. Wayne Barton’s Lotta Love For Robyn, the fourth-place finisher in the 2011 All American Futurity (G1), was moved up from third to second-place following the disqualification of Rush Of Fire from second to seventh due to interference. Lotta Love For Robyn earned $5,625 for the second-place finish. Attack The Cartel was also disqualified for interference, going from fourth to eighth. Dr. Steve Burns’ Pony Drive was moved up from fifth to third. The official order of finish is as follows: Fols Jesse, Lotta Love For Robyn, Pony Drive, Hit It Big, Consider, Steller, Rush Of Fire and Attack The Cartel.