Q-Racing Blog: Recurring Message

Using time to your advantage.

You can use time to your advantage.

A recurring message has been coming through from many successful trainers over the past decade or so. It started about the same time that the derbies at Ruidoso Downs and Los Alamitos approached the $1-million status about 10 years ago.

The theme is that if you can wait on a horse until that horse is ready to show their prime potential, do it. Last summer at Ruidoso Downs, 141 2-year-olds entered the All American Futurity (G1) trials, but passed on running to retain eligibility to the All American Derby (G1).

Time is on their side.

Same story, another locale, for Spackman Racing’s Time For Jess. She is the fastest qualifier to the $168,500 Southern California Derby (G2) on December 18 at Los Alamitos.

“She is a great big, stout filly,” said trainer Lin Melton. “Since she was a big 2-year-old, we didn’t force her. We let her come into her own.

“She is breaking better now. She has grown into her body.”

Time For Jess made her first start in July 2015 and won her maiden in her fourth start in
late-September 2015.

The Apollitical Jess-sired filly found her potential when she was a troubled second in her Golden State Million Futurity (G1) trial to recent $767,750 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) winner Big Lew. She then won her Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) trial and qualified for the finals, finishing a troubled sixth.

It’s been a step up for Time For Jess this year. “She mentally good now. This year, she’s been really good,” said Melton. “She just had a bad go in the La Primera Del Ano Derby (finishing eighth) after a bad start.”

Since then, Time For Jess has been on a roll. She is not a good “work horse,” so Melton has learned that if she runs about once a month, she stays in prime condition.

Time For Jess won the $45,000 Adequan Los Alamitos Challenge, but her connections decided to pass on the $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Los Alamitos and pointed at the Los Alamitos Super Derby. She earned the opportunity to run in the Los Alamitos Super Derby trials, according to Melton.

After Time For Jess’ third-place run in the Los Alamitos Super Derby to $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) qualifiers Big Lew and Rite Regal, she ran a big race in her Los Alamitos Super Derby trial.

In the first of four trials over a sloppy track, Time For Jess started from the second post position while 2015 champion 2-year-old gelding Ima Fearless Hero drew the rail post position. The duo raced neck-and-neck down the inside of the track and Time For Jess surged to get a neck win with the fastest-qualifying mark of :19.723 for the 400 yards. S-Quarter K LLC’s homebred Ima Fearless Hero checked in with the second-fastest mark of :19.750.

After the Southern California Derby, Time For Jess will probably run in the $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap (G1) and then travel to Burns Ranch to be bred to Favorite Cartel and several other stallions. She will then return for Los Alamitos for the distaff stakes. Four Los Alamitos’ stakes for fillies and mares that have had their purses increased in 2017. They are the $125,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1), $50,000 Las Damas Handicap (G3), $35,000 Miss Princess Handicap (G3) and the $30,000 Ivan Ashment Handicap. Again, more money for older horses.

Coming into the Southern California Derby, Time For Jess is in sharp form and jockey Carlos Huerta fits her very well. A prime reason for her stakes credentials and prospects is she has a trainer who allowed her to grow into her body. Sound familiar?

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