Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Thursday, January 19, 2017
by Eric Alwan
Championship at Sunland Park winner Jessies First Down named 2016 World Champion Quarter Horse
$350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (Grade 1) winner Jessies First Down was named 2016 World Champion American Quarter Horse by the American Quarter Horse Association at the awards ceremony held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Wednesday night. Jessies First Down also earned Champion older gelding and Champion older horse honors.
The win in the Championship at Sunland Park was a pivotal vote getter for the new world champion. Trained by world champion trainer Judd Kearl, Jessies First Down fought off Zoomin Effortlessly by a nose to win his 8th race from 11 starts in 2016. The six-year-bay gelding by Fdd Dynasty won over six different tracks: Sunland Park, Hialeah, Sam Houston, Ruidoso Downs, Zia Park and Lone Star Park.
Owner Ted Abrams said after the announcement, “I think it was definitely the race at Sunland that put him over the top.” Jessies First Down completed 2016 with nearly $600,000 in career earnings. His immaculate record stands at 10 wins, 10 seconds and 1 third from 27 career starts. Rodrigo Vallejo is his regular pilot.
Sunland Winter Juvenile winner Imperial Eagle named Champion 2-year-old
Sunland Park Winter Juvenile Championship and All American Futurity winner Imperial Eagle took home Champion 2-year-old and Champion 2-year-old gelding honors. The 2-year-old gelded son of One Famous Eagle beat JM Mister Destiny by a nose in the Sunland Winter Juvenile Championship to complete a stellar freshman year with $1,721,507 in earnings. Tony Sedillo trains the young champion for owner Charles Robinson. Esgar Ramirez is his jockey.
Sunland Park rider Esgar Ramirez named World Champion Quarter Horse jockey
Multiple Sunland Park Quarter Horse jockey champion Esgar Ramirez won the title of World Champion Quarter Horse rider for the first time in 2016. His mounts earned over $4.4 million.
Longtime Sunland Park campaigner Coronas Boy was named the Champion Distance Quarter Horse for trainer Martin Orona, Jr. and owner Victor Diaz.
Live racing resumes on Friday at 12:45 p.m. The $65,000 Winsham Lad Handicap starring defending champion Forest Mouse is slated for Saturday. Sippin tries to remain unbeaten in the $85,000 Enchantress Stakes on Sunday. Both stakes races are contested at one mile.
Photos courtesy of: Coady Photography