Jess Adalida, One Sweet Merlot Land Challenge Championship Berths

The filly and gelding win regional races at Retama Park on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Two Challenge Championship berths were landed at Retama Park near San Antonio on Saturday.

David L. Martinez's Jess Adalida, the third-fastest qualifier, parlayed a sharp break from post 3 into a convincing 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $69,750 John Deere Retama Juvenile Challenge Stakes at Retama Park.

Racing against a reported 12-mph head wind, Jess Adalida covered her 350-yard trip in :17.637 while earning a 102 speed index and her first stakes win. Luciano Duenez rode the sorrel daughter of champion Jess Louisiana Blue for trainer Antonio Delgado Sr.

In addition to earning the $32,085 winner's share of the purse, Jess Adalida landed a berth in the October 13, $130,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Prairie Meadows near Des Moines, Iowa. The filly was bred in California by the List family's Double Bar S Ranch, and she is out of the winning and graded stakes placed homebred First Down Dash mare Wortherweightingold. Jess Adalida's second dam, the winning Tolltac mare Gold Daze, ran third in Etarag's 1997 Retama Park Derby (G2).

Jess Adalida was a $10,500 buy at last year's Heritage Place Yearling Sale in Oklahoma City. The filly has won three of six races while racing in three states, and she has earned $47,511. Her resume includes a second-place finish, a neck behind winner Eagles Soar, in the 300-yard, $50,000 West Texas Juvenile Invitational Stakes at Sunland Park on April 15.

Mystical Jess finished second and was followed by Roses Dancer, Tempting Mary, fastest qualifier Ivory Noche, The Cartel Warrior, The Lady Is Dealin, Rock On Zoomer, Tres Generales Ftl, and Shimmy Dasher.

Also on Saturday, fourth-fastest qualifier One Sweet Merlot rallied to win the 400-yard, $57,960 Adequan Retama Derby Challenge.

Ridden by Noe Villatoro and sent to post as the 3-1 second choice, One Sweet Merlot defeated sixth-fastest qualifier and 15-1 longshot Eagle Cry by a neck in :19.973, a clocking achieved against a reported 17-mph head wind. Trey Ellis trained the sorrel One Sweet Jess gelding for owners David Jones and Mark C. Cowan.

One Sweet Merlot was bred in Oklahoma by Vessels Stallion Farm LLC. The gelding banked $26,662 for his fourth win in eight starts and second stakes score, and he earned a starting slot in the Grade 3, $180,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows on October 14.

Raced in Texas and Louisiana, One Sweet Merlot has earned $90,736, of which $53,386 has been pocketed this season.

Trashy Tres, 2-1 favorite Apollitical Girl, Deala Quick Game, Jayronimo, fastest qualifier Jess Kicked A Gear, Walk Off, Queen Dinasty, and Desdemona Rambler completed the order of finish.

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