World Champion Jessies First Down is Morning-Line Choice in Zia Park Championship

The Grade 1, 440-yard race is one of three Quarter Horse stakes on the track's annual "Land of Enchantment Day" program.

Q-Racing Journal

Ted G. Abrams' Jessies First Down, seen here winning the September 24 Albuquerque Fall Championship, is one of a dozen sprinters entered in Wednesday's 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Ted G. Abrams' Jessies First Down, the sport's reigning world champion, is the even-money morning-line favorite for Wednesday's 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship (G1), one of three Quarter Horse stakes on the track's 10-race "Land of Enchantment Day" card.

A homebred 6-year-old son of Fdd Dynasty trained by Jimmy Padgett, Jessies First Down will be making his first start since September 24, when the gelding scored a three-quarter length victory in the 440-yard, $250,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship at Albuquerque Downs. Jessies First Down has won four of five outs, including three against graded stakes company, and he has earned $338,927 this season.

Jessies First Down drew post 6 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo. According to Abrams, the gelding is in top form coming into this race.

"When he works with his tongue outside his mouth, that's the sign," Abrams told racing writer Martha Claussen. "We pay attention to everything Jessie does. The other morning, he had a great work, and when that tongue is out, that's a sign that he is ready to go."

Jessies First Down's opponents include Imperial Eagle, last year's champion 2-year-old. A 3-year-old One Famous Eagle gelding trained by Tony Sedillo for owners Charles Robinson and Christina Robinson, Imperial Eagle has earned $1,813,607 from 15 starts, and he will be facing aged sprinters for the first time off of a second-place finish, a half of a length behind winner Marseille, in the 440-yard, $152,000 Hobbs America Derby (G3) at Zia Park.

Imperial Eagle drew post 5 and will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Magestic Eagle (Ricky Ramirez), 10-1
TF Im That Guy (Manuel Gutierrez), 10-1
Watch My Wallet Loto (Raul Herrera), 30-1
JM Country Man (Mauro Salcedo), 15-1
Imperial Eagle (Esgar Ramirez), 5-2
Jessies First Down (Rodrigo Vallejo), 1-1
Machismo Moon (Jose Amador Alvarez), 12-1
Knockemout Capi (Adrian Ramos), 30-1
De La Eagle (Jaime Parga Leos), 20-1
Rarin (Roberto Meraz Jr.), 15-1
AE-Marseille (Edwuin Lujan), 5-1
AE-Cobalt Creek (Ricky Ramirez), 12-1

Also on Wednesday, an overflow field of 12 state-bred distaffers has been entered in the 400-yard, $140,000 New Mexico Filly and Mare Championship (RG1). Princess Jesse, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, is coming off of a third-place finish, 1 3/4 lengths behind longshot winner Major Bites, in the 440-yard, $170,000 Namehimastreaker New Mexico Cup Championship (RG1) on October 29. A homebred 4-year-old Jesse James Jr mare, Princess Jesse drew post 7 and will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez for owner and trainer Vance Mikkelson of Belen, New Mexico.

Wednesday's Quarter Horse stakes tripleheader will be kicked off by the 870-yard, $50,000 King Rick Rack Stakes, which has drawn a field of 10, topped by 8-5 morning-line favorite Zoomin Racer. A 4-year-old son of Jess Zoomin owned and trained by Fernando Carrete of Albuquerque, the gelding brings in a five-race win streak that includes a wire-to-wire, 2 3/4-length victory in the 870-yard, $105,000 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows in his most recent start. Ricky Ramirez will ride Zoomin Racer from the rail post.

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