Jessies First Down is Morning-Line Choice for Championship at Sunland Park

The reigning world champion heads a field of eight in Sunday's Grade 1 stakes.

Ted G. Abrams' Jessies First Down heads a field of eight in Sunday's Championship at Sunland Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Reigning world champion Jessies First Down is the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Sunday’s 440-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1).

A homebred 6-year-old son of Fdd Dynasty trained by Jimmy Padgett for owner Ted Abrams of Houston, Texas, Jessies First Down has won his last three starts, all against stakes company and all at the quarter-mile distance. The gelding has earned $428,927 from six races this year, and he ended his 2016 campaign with a nose victory in the Championship at Sunland Park.

Jessies First Down drew post 5 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo. The gelding’s seven opponents include Victor Diaz’s TF Im That Guy, a 4-year-old First Down Dash stallion trained by Lorenzo Vega. TF Im That Guy is coming off of a second-place finish, 1 3/4 lengths behind Jessies First Down, in the 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship (G1) on November 22.

TF Im That Guy drew post 3 and will be ridden by Manuel Gutierrez.

Once Over, another contender with a three-race win streak, drew post 7 and will be ridden by Raul Herrera for owner Bujanda Racing Stables and trainer Carlos Alvidrez. An 8-year-old California-bred son of Walk Thru Fire, the gelding won both of his starts during the Zia Park fall meet, the 350-yard, $50,000 James Isaac Hobbs Stakes (G2) in September, and the 400-yard, $50,000 Lovington Stakes (G2) on November 5.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
De La Eagle (Jaime Parga Leos), 20-1
Marseille (Jose Enrique Ortiz), 10-1
TF Im That Guy (Manuel Gutierrez), 5-1
Don Quixote (Esgar Ramirez), 12-1
Jessies First Down (Rodrigo Vallejo), 4-5
JM Mister Destiny (Ricky Ramirez), 8-1
Once Over (Raul Herrera), 6-1
Cobalt Creek (Gilbert Ortiz), 8-1

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit