World Champion Quarter Horse

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Friday, January 19, 2018
by Eric Alwan


Jessies First Down named repeat World Champion Quarter Horse


Jessies First Down was named World Champion Quarter Horse for the second straight year in the awards ceremony held by the American Quarter Horse Association in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this week.

Despite finishing an unlucky third in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) on New Year’s Eve, Ted Abrams’ star Quarter Horse was named the World Champion of 2017 after capturing wins in the Zia Park Championship, Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship and the All American Gold Cup. Jessies First Down is the first repeat world champ since SLM Big Daddy in 1998. He is trained by James Padgett. The millionaire champion won 5 of 7 races in 2017.

Jessies First Down was also named Champion Aged Horse and Champion Aged Gelding. His regular pilot Rodrigo Vallejo was declared the Champion Quarter Horse Jockey.


Running Dragon named Champion Three-year-old


Local runner Running Dragon was named Champion Three-year-old Filly. Running Dragon won the 2017 Shue Fly, NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes and Sunburst Stakes at Sunland Park last season. The New Mexico-bred filly is owned by the By By JJ LLC and trained by Juan Carlos Gonzalez.

Unbeaten La Senora Stakes winner Fast Gator wheels back for the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes at one mile as Sunday’s 8th race. Fast Gator used a determined drive to win the La Senora going 6 furlongs with Ry Eikleberry in the saddle. She will once again face the La Senora runner-up Country Club Cutie in the elongated Enchantress going two turns.

Route stakes winner Indian Jack and Four Rivers/John Deere Stakes winner Blazing Navarone clash in the Red Hedeman Mile as Sunday’s 9th race.


Post time on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Friday is 12:30 p.m.


Photos courtesy of:  Coady Photography