10/24/2006 11:00PM

Gold Medal Jess out to end drought


Champion of Champions invitee Gold Medal Jess looks for his first win since the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Feb. 25 in Friday's $30,000 First Down Dash Handicap at Los Alamitos.

The half-length win in the Winter Championship earned Gold Medal Jess an invitation to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 9. Since that win he has run fourth in both the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap and the MBNA America California Challenge Championship from five starts.

"We're trying to get him going in the right direction," said trainer Bret Vickery. "Our goal is the Champion of Champions, but he hasn't been getting out of the gates too well in his last few races."

Just a Lane Change comes into the First Down Dash off a 12-1 upset win in the Pomona Championship.

He drew out to a three-quarter-length win over Beau Brummel SA and Royal Medallion, both of whom also will run in the First Down Dash.

Blazin Fire Highweight In Las Damas

John Deere California Distaff Challenge winner Blazin Fire will carry high weight of 125 pounds in Saturday night's Grade 2, $50,000 Las Damas Handicap over 400 yards at Los Alamitos.

Blazin Fire won the California Distaff Challenge on Aug. 25 and then ran second to 2005 champion

3-year-old filly Apollitical Time in the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Handicap. Apollitical Time followed her Mildred Vessels win with a victory in the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Championship and is a leading contender for 2006 world champion honors.

What a Performance won three straight races, including the Pomona Express, before a fourth-place finish in the Mildred Vessels. The Pomona Express was at 220 yards and she has never won at a distance longer than 300 yards, so the 400 yards of the Las Damas could be a challenge.

Dont Let Down Heads Dash for Cash

All American Futurity third-place finisher Dont Let Down brings fastest-qualifier honors and favoritism into the Grade 1, $426,375 Dash for Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park on Saturday night.

Dont Let Down was a close third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity and then set the fastest qualifying time to the Ford New Mexico Juvenile Challenge. Owner Bobby Cox decided to pass on the $53,000 Juvenile Challenge finals and point the gelding toward the All American Futurity. The gamble paid off with the third-place finish worth $137,750 two starts ago.

In his Dash for Cash Futurity trial, Dont Let Down raced to a two-length win in 19.802 seconds, the fastest time from 11 trials.

Second-fastest qualifier First Freeze is also an All American Futurity alumnus. He was a troubled ninth in the All American and then won his Dash For Cash Futurity trial in 19.857 seconds.

Valley Junction Futurity winner A Silver Goblin brings a four-race winning streak into the Dash for Cash Futurity. He won three races at Prairie Meadows, including the Grade 2 Valley Junction, before winning his Dash for Cash Futurity trial in 19.971 seconds.

The Dash for Cash Futurity winner receives an invitation in the inaugural $300,000 Southwest Juvenile Challenge at Zia Park on Dec. 3.

Ima Ramblin Girl fastest to derby

Fastest qualifier Ima Ramblin Girl could enhance her breeding value with a Grade 1 win when she starts in the $193,300 Dash for Cash Derby on Saturday night at Lone Star Park.

Ima Ramblin Girl already is a prime broodmare prospect with two minor stakes wins and being a half-sister to two-time the Los Alamitos Championship winner, Heza Ramblin Man.

Ima Ramblin Girl raced to her fifth win from 17 starts when she won her Dash for Cash Derby trial in 21.670 seconds for 440 yards, the quickest time in the five trials.

This Candys Red Hot should be dangerous in the derby. He won the Grade 1 Gold Cup Futurity at 2 and won his derby trial by a half-length for his sixth win from 13 starts.

Gun Battle, Arealstraitheart return

All American Futurity runner-up Gun Battle and All American Derby winner Arealstraitheart make their first starts since those Grade 1 stakes in trials to New Mexico-bred stakes at Zia Park this weekend.

Gun Battle meets All American Futurity fourth-place finisher Mightys First Call in the fourth of six trials to the New Mexico Classic Futurity on Saturday. Gun Battle, the 5-2 favorite in the All American Futurity, won the Zia Futurity over Mightys First Call.

Arealstraitheart will run in the first of two New Mexico Classic Derby trials on Sunday. A $822,794 earner, Arealstraitheart has three Grade 1 wins and was second in the 2005 All American Futurity

* Jockeys at Lone Star Park are seeking sponsors for tricycle races to be held as a fundraiser for the Don McBeth Fund. The jockeys will participate in tricycle trial races on Nov. 7, and a futurity, or finale, on Nov. 10. Also, a fundraiser dinner for the Don McBeth Fund will be held in the sales pavilion at Lone Star on Nov. 7.

– additional reporting by Mary Rampellin