Time For Jess Wins Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap

The 4-year-old mare earns a Champion of Champions berth on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Spackman Racing's Time For Jess overcame a less-than-perfect start to win Sunday's Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Spackman Racing's Time For Jess earned a Champion of Champions (G1) berth on Sunday, as the 4-year-old daughter of Apollitical Jess sprinted to a nose victory in Sunday's $100,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1) for distaffers at Los Alamitos.

Saddled by Lin Melton, Time For Jess went 400 yards in :19.801 and posted a 91 speed index. Cesar DeAlba rode the Idaho-bred mare.

Lin Melton and K.C. Spackman
celebrate Time For Jess' victory
in Sunday's Mildred Vessels
Memorial Handicap. PHOTO: Los
Alamitos Racecourse

“After all these years, we are in the Champion of Champions,” said K.C. Spackman, a second generation Quarter Horse owner. “This is just fun. We’ve been through a lot to get to where we are tonight. My dad, Kelly, has been around for years. My dad is still in charge. I’m so blessed to be where I am.”

Time For Jess will be the first starter in the Champion of Champion for Spackman Racing and also the first in the race for Melton.

“It’s special being in the Champion of Champions, especially to do it the way she did,” Melton said. “I’ve had her since she was a baby. We turned her out for about three months last winter. She’s pretty much been in that same stall for three years. That’s her home.”

Time For Jess broke outwardly from the gate and had to chase Cina and John Sperry’s Jess Good Reason for the first part of the race. 

“She walked away from there, but Cesar didn’t panic; he just kept riding her,” Melton said. “He told me she lost her focus, but he did a beautiful job riding her. He never touched her. She doesn’t like to be whipped. I know I would have been jumping up and down using the whip, but he just sat on her cool.

"I figured that out a long time ago about her not liking the whip," he added. "That’s how she is around the barn. She doesn’t like you messing with her. She loves people, but she doesn’t like you messing with her.”

Time For Jess was bred by Kelly/Yearsley Equine LLC, and she was coming off of a three-quarter length victory in the 400-yard, $28,260 Merial California Distaff Challenge on August 12. Raced exclusively at Los Alamitos, the mare has won seven of 24 races, and the $60,000 winner's share of the purse from her third career stakes score and first graded stakes victory bumped her earnings to $369,079.

Jess Good Reason finished second and was followed by 7-5 favorite Jess Ravin, Thermonucelear Energy, Strawfinders Jessee, Maggie Durant, You Can Fly, and Jess Envision.

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