Jessies First Down Reigns in Remington Park Invitational Championship

The two-time world champion breaks the 440-yard track record on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Ted G. Abrams' Jessies First Down (green cap) wins Saturday's Grade 1, 440-yard Remington Park Invitational Championship. PHOTO: Dustin Orona Photography

Jessies First Down, a homebred 7-year-old son of champion Fdd Dynasty and the sport's world champion the past two seasons, dominated his competition again in Saturday's 440-yard, $250,000 Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1) at Remington Park.

Racing for Ted G. Abrams of Houston, Texas, and trained by Jimmy Padgett, Jessies First Down defeated stablemate and 2017 champion 3-year-old Hold Air Hostage by one length while covering his quarter-mile trip in :20.772 under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo. The bay gelding recorded a 112 speed index while besting by 36/1000ths the track record previously held by Moonin The Eagle.

"It was definitely a horse race and lived up to everything it was built up to," said Padgett, who trains Hold Air Hostage for owner Darling Farms. "Hold Air broke on top and had the lead for probably three-quarters of the way, and then Jessie ran him down on the end. He's a professional."

"We knew that Hold Air Hostage would get out in front of us; that's just the way he does, he breaks fast," said Abrams. "I thought we'd have to run him down at the end.

"To tell the truth, I didn't think we'd pass him that fast," Abrams added. "This might be the best race Jessie has every run in his life. He's a phenomenal horse. I've run out of accolades for him."

Jessies First Down was stretching out in distance off of his wire-to-wire, two-length victory as the 2-5 favorite in his season debut, the 400-yard, $100,000 Leo Stakes (G1) at Remington Park on April 28. The gelding has won 17 of 36 starts, including 15 of 28 at the 440-yard trip, and the $150,000 winner's share of the purse from his ninth graded stakes victory pushed his bankroll to $1,285,202.

The 7-5 second choice in the eight-horse field, Jessies First Down returned a $4.80 win mutuel and teamed with Hold Air Hostage, the 7-10 favorite, for a $2 exacta payoff of $5.20. Bodacious Eagle, a 13-1 longshot, finished second, two lengths behind Jessies First Down, to complete a $14.80 ($1) trifecta.

Firing Tools, Tough To Bee, Rock About It, Myst Fit, and Koolnfamous completed the order of finish.

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