JESS DREAM OF ME TOPS NIGHT OF TRIALS TO RICHEST RUNNING OF LOS ALAMITOS OAKS
LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE, CYPRESS, CA…. Raymond Merrill and Gregory Cullum’s Jess Dream Of Me arrived at Los Alamitos in 2021 with an impressive résumé that included making the final to the Grade 1 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.
Bred by Speed LLC, the daughter of Apollitical Jess has since added two impressive victories at Los Alamitos to her list of achievements, her most recent score being a rallying victory in the first of four trials to the $438,500 Los Alamitos Oaks here on Saturday night.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Jess Dream Of Me bumped at the start of this 400-yard dash, but she came flying late to catch Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity winner Fire Fast Honey in this trial. Jess Dream Of Me covered the 400-yard distance in :19.788 to earn her the fastest of 27 times posted on the night of trials to the richest running ever of the Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
“We had some complications at the break,” Mendez said. “(Horses) came in on us a little bit, but the good thing is that we found space to go, and she took off nicely. I’ve liked her a lot of since she arrived. Her first start at Los Alamitos was tough. Her second start was a lot better and she’s continued to improve. She came running strong at the end (tonight). That’s her thing – she’s a powerful closer.”
Led by Jess Dream Of Me, the runners with the 10 fastest times will get together in the Oaks final to be held here on Saturday, March 26. In addition to the filly out of the Valiant Hero mare Valiant Jess, the Oaks will also feature Restricted Grade 1 Governor’s Cup Futurity winner She Goes Up, Kindergarten winner Fire Fast Honey, AQRA Turf Paradise Futurity winner Chrissy Ledoux, and Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Sweet Dasha Fire.
Jess Dream Of Me was one of two qualifiers from the barn of trainer Jose Flores, who also saddled Sweet Dasha Fire to a top 10 spot after she finished second in her trial to Ed Allred’s She Goes Up.
“When they send (Jess Dream Of Me) to me, they did a really good job with her back home,” Flores said. “She was unlucky in her Two Million (trial). She won her trial easy and just missed qualifying to the final. It was tough to take.”
Edward and Theresa DeNike’s Sweet Tess ran second to Jess Dream Of Me in their trial and finished with a time of :19.845 to give the sire Apollitical Jess the top two qualifiers in the Oaks. Trainer Pat Visscher was confident that Sweet Tess would run a good race on Saturday.
“She’s faced tough rivals and look at the horses in this race, big runners like Jess Dream Of Me and Fire Fast Honey,” Visscher said.
Eduardo Nicasio piloted the Washington homebred, who has now hit the board in five of nine career starts. Dennis Jensen and Randy Young’s Fire Fast Honey also qualified out of this heat with the fourth fastest clocking of :19.914.
Other trial winners here included EG High Desert Farms’ La Beverly Hills, who was the surprise of the night after winning the second trial at 36-1 odds. The Corona Czech filly led from gate to wire here, recording her second career win in 11 starts. Henry Reynoso Lopez piloted the EG High Desert Farms-bred runner for trainer Jesus Nunez. Her winning time of :19.861 was the third fastest of the night.
Representing the partnership of Bradbury Racing, Robyn Gordon, Jimmy Dean Harrel and Thompson Racing Inc., Majority Interest qualified with the fifth fastest time after winning the third trial in :19.918. The filly by Seperate Interest is out of the 2021 PCQHRA Broodmare of the Year, Remember Me Rose. This makes Majority Interest a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Powerful Favorite, Runforyourlife, Bomb Cyclone and Cyber Monday. Paul Jones saddled the Steve Burns-bred runner.
Owned and bred by Ed Allred, She Goes Up won the final Oaks trial thanks to a strong performance in the second half of her trial. Also sired by Seperate Interest, She Goes Up entered this heat after a second-place finish in an allowance event on February 19, which represented her first start since winning the Governor’s Cup on July 31.
“She needed the out pretty bad,” winning trainer Scott Willoughby said. “We laid her off after she won the futurity and her brought her back. It was getting pretty close, but we were able to get an out in her. It worked out perfect. Unfortunately, they rattled the gate and she false broke a little bit. She’s a good enough filly that she went ahead and won the race. She ran a big race. (Sweet Dasha Fire) ran a big race and we’re lucky that we won.”
With Jonathan Roman up, She Goes Up stopped the clock in :19.936 to give her the seventh fastest time. Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the Oaks: Jess Dream Of Me (:19.788), Sweet Tess (:19.845), La Beverly Hills (:19.861), Fire Fast Honey (:19.914), Majority Interest (:19.918), Chrissy Ledoux (:19.923), She Goes Up (:19.936), Sweet Dasha Fire (:19.949), Call It Close (:20.021), and Unavailable (:20.153).