02/18/2009 1:00AM

Gomez looks for big weekend


Fastest qualifier A Tempting Dash could start a memorable weekend for trainer Jaime Gomez on Friday night in the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby at the Southern California track.

Gomez also sends out Grade 1 Champion of Champions winner Jess You and I in the Grade 1, $240,700 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Saturday night.

A Tempting Dash moved to the upper echelon of the West Coast juvenile ranks when he finished fifth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million on Dec. 12. He then backed up that career-best performance by impressively winning the third of three Winter Derby trials. The gelding overcame a stumble at the start to rally and win by 1 3/4 lengths in 19.410 seconds for 400 yards.

"I just wanted him to recover and find his stride," jockey Alejandro Luna said. "He did exactly that and then he took off."

Trainer Paul Jones saddles the proven Grade 1 horses Fantastic Corona Jr. and Hes Regal.

Fantastic Corona Jr. parlayed a fifth in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million and a third-place run if the Los Alamitos Two Million into earnings of $310,000 last year. He raced to his fourth win from seven starts when he won his Winter Derby trial by three-quarters of a length as the 3-5 favorite.

Hes Regal started his career with two wins and then was moved up to third in the Grade 1 Kindergarten following a disqualification. The colt returned from a seven-month layoff with a promising three-quarter-length win in a conditioned allowance on Dec. 18 at Los Alamitos.

As the 7-10 favorite, he was fourth in his Winter Derby trial behind second-fastest qualifier Jimmy Delivers.

Jimmy Delivers could be dangerous in the Winter Derby at a price. The runner-up in the Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity, he came back from a 10-week freshening to upset a deep Winter Derby trial at 11-1 odds. He won by a head in 19.470 seconds.

In Saturday's Winter Championship, Jess You and I tries to earn a return trip to this year's Champion of Champions in December. The Winter Championship winner receives the year's first invitation to the Champion of Champions.

A 5-year-old gelding, Jess You and I had a lackluster start in his Winter Championship trial, but rallied to finish third. It was his first start since winning the Champion of Champions on Dec. 13.