February 17-18 Stakes Recap

A recap of non-graded stakes.

Q-Racing Journal

C.K. and Laurel Allen's Strawfinders Jessee was a prompt 11-10 favorite in Saturday's Denim N Diamonds Handicap. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Following is a recap of all official American Quarter Horse stakes for the week of Februarry 17-18. For recaps of graded stakes, Bank of America Racing Challenge events, and stakes with purses of $100,000 or more, see the individual recaps in the Racing News section. This page willl be updated throughout the week.

Los Alamitos
Strawfinders Jessee gave her owners, C.K. and Laurel Allen, their first ever stakes win, as the 5-year-old mare sprinted to a one-length victory in Saturday's $35,000 Denim N Diamonds Handicap for distaffers.

Ridden by Cesar DeAlba for trainer John Cooper, Strawfinders Jessee covered 350 yards in :17.498. In addition to posting a 97 speed index, the homebred daughter of One Sweet Jess banked the $19,250 winner's share of the purse.

The Allens started out as owners by watching their horses race in more than 130 races, all of them of the maiden and claiming varieties.

“We started in claiming races so winning a race like this is so amazing for us,” Laurel Allen said. “Strawfinders Jessee has been so special. We just love her.” 

“We owe it all to (trainer) John Cooper,” said C.K. Allen, a structural engineer, referring to the filly’s conditioner. “John will let us know what’s next for Jessee.”

Strawfinders Jessee was coming off of of a third-place finish, a neck behind winner Kiddy Up Cowgirl, in the 400-yard, $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap (G1) on January 7. The mare is out of Strawfinder, a homebred winning daughter of Strawflyin Buds.

The Allens and Cooper have been a team since the early 2000s. They teamed up to race Rate Me Royal, which took the Allens to the winner’s circle 8 times in 31 starts while racing up and down the claiming ladder at the Orange County track. 

“We’re just having so much fun,” Allen said.

Strawfinders Jessee has won seven of 23 starts while racing exclusively at this track, and she has earned $107,017.

Jess Mas, Zendaya, One Sweet Runner, Precious Dominique, One Sweet Winner, You Can Fly, Maggie Durant, and Scholarly completed the order of finish.

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