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Jess Challenging

Jess My Kiss has been a Grade 1 competitor his entire career.

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By Andrea Caudill

Jess My Kiss has been a consistent Grade 1 horse his entire career, and hasn’t ever ducked from competition.

He will race next in the $250,000 Bank of America Challenge Championships (G1) on Saturday at The Downs at Albuquerque, for his owners and breeders Mark and Peggy Brown. 

“We’re proud of him, he’s a good colt,” Mark said with fondness.

The horse made waves as a freshman, when he qualified for two of the toughest races in the country -- the Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1), and then the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). 

Last year, he won the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1), lit the board in the Golden State Derby (G2) and contested the PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby (G3), Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) and Southern California Derby (G2).

Rested up from a tough campaign, he went against one of the toughest older horses in the country this year, finishing third behind BH Lisas Boy in the Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3). He prepped for this race about a month ago by winning an allowance. All told, he has won or placed in half of his 22 career starts and earned $256,607. 

“He’s training good,” Mark said. “We’re happy to be here at the Challenge. He’ll be competitive – I don’t know if he can win it, but we’re here.”

Jess My Kiss is sired by One Sweet Jess and is out of the Browns’ good mare Dreaming Of Kisses. She is a daughter of their stallion Legendary Dreamer, and she won for them the 2010 Bitterroot Futurity (RG2) and has also produced for them Grade 1 competitor Kissed By An Eagle (by One Famous Eagle, $352,581). 

The Browns have two weanlings coming up, both full siblings to Kissed By An Eagle, one a colt and one a filly. 

It has been a busy year for the Browns, as they have relocated from Idaho to New Mexico.

“They eliminated the historic racing in Idaho, which pretty much eliminated the racing up there,” Mark said. 

That, combined with some health issues, pushed them to partner with friend Harry Bettis to find a place in San Acacia, New Mexico, which is about 60 miles south of Albuquerque. 

“We have a post office and that’s about it,” Mark said with a laugh. They moved all their horses down and have settled in.

“There’s a lot of good things happening here in New Mexico,” he said. “They’ve got great purses and good breeding programs, so we’re going to test the waters. The people down here in New Mexico have been great, all of our neighbors and the people at racetracks.” 

Jess My Kiss will be saddled by regular trainer Roman Figueroa in the Championship.

“They’ve done a great job with their horses, and we’ve been happy with them,” Mark said. “They do a great job.”

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