PJ Chick In Black Returns in West Texas

Champion looks to start another top season at Sunland Park.

Q-Racing Journal
March 28, 2013

Reigning champion 2-year-old filly PJ Chick In Black should be the prohibitive favorite to gain her first 2013 stakes win when she starts in the $204,148 West Texas Derby (G3) on Saturday afternoon at Sunland Park.

PJ Chick In Black (Desirio-Eddie Jym by Corona Cocktail) was sensational last year when she started her career with five-straight wins. At Sunland Park, she made a winning debut when she handled fellow New Mexico-bred juveniles by one length in her New Mexico Spring Futurity (RG2) trial. That was just the start, as she came back to dominate the finals by a length and marking a :14.912 time for the 300 yards while facing a slight headwind.

The filly was then moved up to open company and thrived at the Grade 1 level. She won her Ruidoso Futurity trial by three lengths and then gamely took the $600,000 finals by a head despite a rough break.

PJ Chick In Black then had an ownership change – she is now owned by Denny Bowen, Susan Taylor and Jack Smith Farms – and moved to the John Stinebaugh stable to prepare for the $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1). After winning her 440-yard trial by an incredible 5 1/2 lengths – a substantial margin even in a Thoroughbred race – and becoming the race’s fastest qualifier, she suffered her only defeat with a troubled sixth-place finish as the 7-10 favorite in the All American Futurity.

After a winter freshening, PJ Chick In Black surfaced in the West Texas Derby trials and left no doubt she is still in championship form. She won her trial by a length and her time of :18.841 for the 400 yards was easily the fastest qualifying time by the equivalent of one length over second-fastest qualifier Rockin Disco (Rock Solid Jess-Check This Disco by Check Him Out), who raced to a :18.971 time.

If the filly heads to Ruidoso for the rich summer derbies while seeking another championship mantle, she will follow an already-established path. In 2010, Vanessa Bartoo's Double Down Special set a new world record while winning the West Texas Derby, then would go on to win the Grade 1 Ruidoso and All American derbies to be named the sport's champion 3-year-old gelding.

Rockin Disco, owned by Rockin J Running Horses with Jack Manning, has stakes experience and has won five of 11 career starts. His benchmark race came when he won the John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge (G3) last summer. He then went on to finish sixth in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) and fourth in the Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1).

The Mike Wakefield-trained gelding came back from a more than three-month rest to win his West Texas Derby trial by a neck over qualifier Whiteface Eagle (One Famous Eagle-Sing And Pray by Truly First Class).

Linda Joiner and Marty Cope’s ICU Deity (FDD Dynasty-ICU Shazoom by Shazoom) could be dangerous after winning three of her latest four starts with her only setback during this span a fifth-place run as the 3-2 favorite in the Sunland Winter Futurity (G2). The Mike Joiner-trained gelding sped to a length trial win with the third-fastest time of :18.983.