Owned and bred by Melissa Miller, Jess Featureme Quick earned a berth to the Grade 1 $350,000 Bank of America Racing Challenge Championship after winning the $79,000 Bank of America California Regional Championship against a stellar field on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Saul Ramirez from post number six for trainer Paul Jones, Jess Featureme Quick outdueled 2011 Champion of Champions runner-up Sparky E Boy by a half-length while posting the fastest 440-yard time so far this season of :21.323. Deniro, the winner of the 2012 Los Alamitos Super Derby finished third, while reigning Champion of Champions winner Rylees Boy finished fourth. New Look, the 2012 El Primero Del Ano Derby winner, Ambush Alley and Forrest Fire completed the field.
Now a winner of six of 18 career starts, Jess Featureme Quick has now recorded 11 straight top three finished dating back to a victory in last year’s All American Derby trials. In his other two starts at Los Alamitos this season, the 4-year-old gelding by Feature Mr Jess finished second in a trial to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and was also the runner-up in the Vessels Maturity final. Jess Featureme Quick ran third to all-time leading money winner Ochoa in the All American Derby and was the winner of the Hobbs America Derby. The talented sprinter was second in The Championship At Sunland Park and third in the Zia Park Championship last year. He second in this year’s Bank of America Sunland Park Championship. Jess Featureme Quick earned $34,839 for his California regional win to lift his career total to $509,038.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this horse,” said Miller, a resident of Belton, Texas and a Quarter Horse breeder for the past 35 years. “This horse had a slow start as a 2-year-old, but the lights came on for him when he won his All American Derby trial. He finished third in the All American Derby and he’s made the board every race since then. This was a fantastic field of horses and just to be a part of it is a great feat. To come out on top in this race is an honor.”
Miller owns show broodmares, but also partners on racing-bred mares with her veterinarian, Dr. Theresa Dwyer. Jess Featureme Quick’s mother, the Royal Quick Dash mare One Quick Cookie, is one of the broodmares Miller partners with Dr. Dwyer. One Quick Cookie is a half-sister to One Famous Lady, who is the dam of top sire One Famous Eagle.
“One Quick Cookie is from California from Double Bar S Ranch,” Miller added. “We bought her at the (2007) Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale. She was in foal when we bought her at Heritage Place. I showed her in the performance halter class because she was such a good looking horse and she ended up finishing fifth in the AQHA World Show.
“We sell everything that we breed, but we couldn’t sell (Jess Featureme Quick),” Miller added. “We kept him to help prove his young mother. We lost her first yearling - the one that she was in foal with when we bought her - and we sold her second one. Jess Featureme Quick is her third baby. He’s really made his mother proud and he’s made his human mother very proud as well.”
Jess Featureme Quick will now look for more important victories at Los Alamitos in the months to come, important races like the Bank of America Championship Challenge on Saturday, November 9.
“After he finished third in the All American Derby, this horse will never be sold,” Miller said. “He’ll have a loving home for the rest of his life.”
“He has really developed into a very nice horse,” added Paul Jones, who also saddled runner-up Sparky E Boy and the champion Rylees Boy. “(Jess Featureme Quick) runs well from the outside post and I thought post position made a big difference tonight. Rylees Boy had post position number two and he doesn’t run well from the inside. Jess Featureme Quick had also been racing recently so that was good for him, while Rylees Boy was coming off a layoff. The time for this race was also faster than the one posted in the Champion of Champions last year. I was also proud of Sparky E Boy. He’s a veteran campaigner with a lot of big races to his name. He ran a very good race tonight.”
Reed Pierson and Brad Stevenson’s Sparky E Boy, who won this race in 2012, earned $14,931 for his second place finish. A winner of $322,424 in 32 career starts, the Hawkinson gelding was making his first start since running third in the First Down Dash Handicap on December 22. Starting from post number four, Sparky E Boy was ridden by Cesar De Alba.
“Sparky E Boy was facing some tough horses tonight,” Pierson said. “That was the biggest part of it. He had them outrun a ways. He started pretty nicely and he was able to outrun some good horses. He had not race for a while and this was a tough 440-yard race. Hopefully he can still make the field in the Bank of America final because he loves it here.”
“Sparky E Boy was right there with us the whole way,” Saul Ramirez added. “We finally started beating him in the last 75 yards. Jess Featureme Quick broke pretty good and he had a big finish.”
Shane O’Leary’s Deniro earned $7,465 for finishing third. His career earnings now stand at $511,661. Jose De La Torre saddled the Desirio gelding, which was ridden by Eduardo Nicasio from post number five. Rylees Boy earned $4,977 for his fourth place finish to take his career earnings to $1,398,839. The 8-year-old gelding by Heza Motor Scooter was making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on February 17.
“He was training great coming into this race, but I noticed that he was a little quieter than usual in the paddock,” Jones said. “This just wasn’t his night, but he’ll be back. We’ll take our time with Rylees Boy, Jess Featureme Quick and Sparky E Boy to think about their next races. “