12/31/2016 7:29PM

Imperial Eagle by a nose in Winter Juvenile Championship

Coady Photography
Imperial Eagle notched his third stakes win of the year with his Saturday victory.

Imperial Eagle closed out a powerful 2-year-old season Saturday when he edged Jm Mister Destiny by a nose to win the $200,000 Sunland Park Winter Juvenile Championship for Quarter Horses. It was the third stakes win of the year for Imperial Eagle, who also accounted for the $3 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and Grade 1 Southwest Juvenile Championship at Zia Park.

The Winter Juvenile was one of three Quarter Horse stakes on Saturday’s card at Sunland. Jessies First Down won his third straight Grade 1 race in the $350,000 Championship, and Princess Jesse ($13) was a head winner over odds-on favorite Astica in the $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap.

Imperial Eagle ($3.60) broke on top and dueled throughout in the Winter Juvenile. He covered 400 yards on a track rated good in 19.73 seconds. Esgar Ramirez was aboard for Charles Robinson and trainer Tony Sedillo. Imperial Eagle is a gelded son of One Famous Eagle and a leading candidate for champion 2-year-old Quarter Horse of 2016.

Jessies First Down ($8.80) and 2-5 favorite Zoomin Effortlessly dueled throughout in the Championship, with Jessies First Down ultimately a nose winner. Jessies First Down covered 440 yards on a track rated good in 21.23 seconds. Rodrigo Vallejo was aboard for Ted G. Abrams and trainer Judd Kearl.

Jessies First Down won the Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap in October at Lone Star Park, then won the Grade 1 Zia Park Championship in November before notching the Championship at Sunland.