01/06/2011 12:42PM

It's all in the start for Stylish Jess Br in Charger Bar


Through her four-year racing career, Stylish Jess Br has won six stakes and earned one championship, as the outstanding Quarter Horse aged mare of 2009.

Her record would have more depth with better gate manners, trainer Paul Jones says. In recent weeks, Jones has schooled the 6-year-old mare at the gate several timess to avoid a poor start in Saturday’s $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap at Los Alamitos.

The Grade 1 Charger Bar, run over 400 yards for fillies and mares, is Stylish Jess Br’s first start since a fourth-place finish after a poor start in a division of the Champion of Champions trials on Nov. 21.

“She broke bad and hopped at the start,” Jones said. “It was a horrible start. We’ve worked with her quite a bit. It’s a crapshoot. She’ll break good two or three times and then once badly.

“If she gets a good start, she’s tough to beat.”

Stylish Jess Br is winless in her last three starts, including a third to Merridoc Hawk in the Mildred Vessels Handicap in September and a third to Freaky in the Los Alamitos Championship against males in October. Merridoc Hawk is part of the Charger Bar field.

The Charger Bar may be Stylish Jess Br’s final start if owner Benny Rosset decides to breed her.

“I don’t know if they want to bring her back or retire her,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll bring her back. She’s sound and healthy.”

The Chargar Bar drew a field of 10, including Dash Back Perry, who was third in both the Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park in November and Zia Park Championship in New Mexico in December

Dash Back Perry was trained by John Bassett in the Southwest and is with his son Joe at Los Alamitos. John Bassett said Dash Back Perry needs a quick start to be a factor.

“She’s never been one of the best gate horses,” Bassett said. “She’s gotten better. Her biggest problem is they outfoot her away from there.”

◗ More Than You Know, last of 10 as the fastest qualifier to the Los Alamitos Two Million last month, rebounded to win the $20,000 Holiday Handicap last Saturday. More Than You Know ran 350 yards in a quick 17.25 seconds, and will be pointed for the Los Alamitos Winter Derby trials on Jan. 28. The race has a $200,000 final over 400 yards on Feb. 18.