Dutcher, Jessies First Down Zoom Into Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship Final

Dutcher is the fastest qualifier to the April 22, $103,220 final at Sam Houston Race Park.

Q-Racing Journal

Dutcher made his 5-year-old debut with a victory in the second of two Bank of America Texas Challenge trials. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Dutcher, a 5-year-old Apollitical Jess gelding trained by reigning AQHA champion trainer Judd Kearl for owners Jumonville Farms and Brian Ranch, is the fastest qualifier to the April 22, $103,220 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2).

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, Dutcher on Friday won the second of two trials by 1 1/4 lengths in :21.429 for 440 yards. The homebred gelding was making his season debut while making his first ever start at Sam Houston Race Park.

"I've had him since January, and he ran a nice race out there tonight," said Kearl.

Dutcher returned to Texas from California, where the gelding won one of his six outs at Los Alamitos and ran second, a neck behind winner He Looks Hot, in the 400-yard, $152,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) in July.

Other prominent qualifiers include Jessies First Down, a homebred 6-year-old Fdd Dynasty gelding owned by Ted G. Abrams of Houston and the sport's reigning world champion. Prepped by Kearl and ridden by Vallejo and making his season debut, Jessies First Down won the first heat by 1 3/4 lengths in :21.639.

"He looked good his first race back," Abrams said. "That was a stiff wind they were running into."

Click here for a complete list of finalists.
 
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