Defending Champion AJs High Draws Rail Post for Sooner State Stakes

The homebred gelding will make his season debut at Remington Park on Saturday.

Michael Teel's AJs High, pictured here winning last year's Sooner State Stakes, will make his season debut in this year's Sooner State, which will be run on Saturday at Remington Park. PHOTO: Dustin Orona Photography

Michael C. Teel’s AJs High, a homebred son of Apollitical Jess trained by Charley Hunt, will make his 5-year-old season debut in Saturday’s 400-yard, $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1) for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park.

AJs High will be making his first start since December 10, when the gelding ran fourth, three-quarters of a length behind winner Zoomin For Spuds, in the 400-yard, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos. AJs High is coming off of a 4-year-old campaign during which he earned $387,029 from eight outs, and his five wins included a one-length victory in the Sooner State Stakes.

AJs High drew the rail post and will be ridden by Stormy Smith. His five opponents include Valiant Rogue, a Grade 1-winning 4-year-old Valiant Hero gelding trained by Judd Kearl for owner Wyok Ranch LLC. Valiant Rogue has won one of two starts this season, and he is coming off of a sophomore campaign during which he banked $525,840 from six races and scored a dominating 1 3/4-length victory in the 440-yard, $1.224-million Rainbow Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

Rodrigo Vallejo will ride Valiant Rogue from post 3.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments:
AJs High (Stormy Smith)
Regard With Respect (Larry Payne)
Valiant Rogue (Rodrigo Vallejo)
Sam Crow (Ricky Ramirez)
Ferrari James (Oscar Delgado)
Vf Red Surprise (James A. Flores)

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