11/10/2010 12:26PM

Apollitical Jess flourishes with more time between races

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif.– The three-week gap between the trials for the Los Alamitos Super Derby on Oct. 17 and the $1,052,000 final last Saturday gave Apollitical Jess sufficient time to recover – and run a career-defining race.

A five-week gap between the Super Derby and his next start in the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11 may lead to a World Championship.

Trained by Juan Aleman and ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Apollitical Jess lowered the Los Alamitos 400-yard track record to 19.133 seconds in the Super Derby, winning by a half-length over Divide the Cash and shaving .02 of a second off Freaky’s 2009 mark of 19.156 seconds. Freaky won the 2009 Champion of Champions, was named the 2009 World Champion, and will be the horse to beat in this year’s running of the 440-yard stakes on Dec. 11.

“We have to take his crown,” Aleman said. “We’ll have to go after him and beat him.”

Aleman, 37, won the richest race of his career in the Los Alamitos Super Derby for Mazatlan, Mexico-based owner Juan Alberto Tirado Lizarraga. The two men thought the moment would arrive in the last year. Apollitical Jess was second in the Los Alamitos Two Million last December and second in the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs earlier this year. In those races, there was a two-week gap between the trials and final.

“When you have more time, it helps any horse,” Aleman said. “I knew he had some talent to win those races. He just didn’t get it done.”

Apollitical Jess, a 4-year-old colt by Mr Jess Perry, has won 7 of 13 starts and $1,016,260. Aleman said the colt will be given this week off before resuming training for the Champion of Champions.

Apollitical Jess is one of eight horses with berths for the Champions of Champions, joined by Freaky, 2008 winner Jess You and I, Blues Man Too, Double Down Special, Merridoc Hawk, Spit Curl Diva, and A Tempting Dash. Horses earn berths by winning major races through year.

Saturday, A Tempting Dash won a 350-yard allowance race at Los Alamitos, his first start since upsetting Freaky in the Go Man Go Handicap on Sept. 10. Berths are still available to the winner of the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Fair Grounds on Nov. 19 and the time trials for the Champion of Champions, the Z. Wayne Griffin Director’s trials, at Los Alamitos on Nov. 21.

At least one berth will be available in the final, and possibly more. There is a chance that Double Down Special will skip the Champion of Champions in favor of the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on Dec. 26, which would make an additional berth available on Nov. 21.