World Champion Returns in Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge Trials

Jessies First Down makes his first start of the season on Friday.

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Ted Abrams' Jessies First Down will make his 6-year-old debut in Friday's 440-yard Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge trials. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Jessies First Down, a homebred 6-year-old son of FDD Dynasty and the sport’s reigning world champion, is one of 19 aged sprinters entered in Friday’s 440-yard Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge (G2) trials at Sam Houston Race Park.

Jessies First Down will be making his first start of the season and his first start since December 31, when the gelding scored a nose victory in the 400-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) in New Mexico. Trained by Judd Kearl, he is coming off of a 5-year-old campaign during which he won eight of 11 starts, including three Grade 1 stakes, and earned $430,042.

Jessies First Down drew post 7 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo in the first of two trials.

Rogelio Garza Guajardo’s Tlc Dale will put his undefeated record at the track on the line in the second heat. A 4-year-old gelding by The Louisiana Cartel trained by Eusevio Huitron, Tlc Dale has banked $156,028 from 11 outs, and his five wins include a neck score in last year’s 350-yard, $191,000 Sam Houston Derby (G3).

Tlc Dale drew post 6 and will be ridden by Damian Martinez.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the April 22, $95,000-added Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge final.

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