Jessies First Down Tops Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge Qualifiers

The 5-year-old FDD Dynasty gelding won the second of three 440-yard trials on Friday.

Q-Racing Journal

Ted G. Abrams' Jessies First Down is the fastest qualifier to the April 16, $95,000-added Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge. PHOTO: Coady Photography

A sharp break from post 4 helped Jessies First Down score a wire-to-wire victory in the second of three Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G2) trials at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday.

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, Jessies First Down covered 440 yards in :21.285, and his winning margin was a clear 1 1/2 lengths from Stimulus. Judd Kearl prepped the homebred 5-year-old FDD Dynasty gelding for owner Ted G. Abrams.

Jessies First Down was coming off of a victory in the February 28, 440-yard Miami-Dade County Stakes at Hialeah Park in Florida. The gelding has won five of 20 outs and has earned $189,982.

"Like a fine wine, this horse just gets better with age," said Kearl.

Other qualifiers to the April 16, $95,000-added final include 2014 world champion JRC Callas First. The 6-year-old son of Winners Award won the third trial by three-quarters of a length for his 16th win in 26 starts.

"He was closing well, but we will have to run a lot faster in the final to beat these," said trainer Brian Stroud, who also co-owns JRC Callas First with his wife, Dana.

Click here for a complete list of finalists.

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