01/28/2009 12:00AM

Jess You and I returns in trials


Champion of Champions winner Jess You And I makes his first start since that record-setting run on Dec. 13 when he heads the 400-yard trials to the Grade 1, $225,000 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

The trials-dominated weekend starts Friday with Los Alamitos Two Million third-place finisher Fantastic Corona Jr. in the trials to the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

Jess You And I stunned Quarter Horse racing when he won the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions at 15-1 odds while setting a 440-yard track record. He raced the distance in 20.94 seconds to become the first horse to run a quarter-mile in less than 21 seconds at Los Alamitos. That time erased the previous track record of 21.13 set by world champion Blues Girl Too in the 2007 Champion of Champions.

The Jaime Gomez-trained Jess You And I was overlooked in the deep field despite winning the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap in his previous start.

Trainer Paul Jones, winner of three of the eight runnings of the Winter Championship, saddles eight horses in the three trials, including Grade 1 winner Magic Show Czech, Strength In Numbers, Stylish Jess BR, Trisk, and Value The Man.

The winner of the Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Jan. 31 receives the year's first invitation to the 2009 Champion of Champions.

Gomez and Jones also are well represented in Friday's three Winter Derby trials.

Gomez has Grade 1 Ed Burke Million runner-up Cartels First Card, while Jones sends out Fantastic Corona Jr. and Grade 1 Kindergarten third-place finisher Hes Regal.

Holt purchases Heartswideopen

Champion and 2007 All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen sold Monday to Julianna Hawn Holt for and undisclosed seven-figure sum and will be bred to Walk Thru Fire at Burns Ranch in Menifee, Calif.

Heartswideopen was sold by Manny and Javier Rodriguez, who raced the mare to the 2007 champion 2-year-old title and Grade 1 wins in the All American Futurity, Ruidoso Futurity, Ruidoso Derby, and Rainbow Derby. She won 11 of 13 starts and earned $1,885,283.

"We've been working on this deal since the All American Sale" on Labor Day weekend at Ruidoso Downs, said Holt's ranch manager, Bennie Greathouse. "Just look at what she's done on the track, and she has a great pedigree. That's what attracted us to her."

She is by leading sire Feature Mr Jess and out of two-time champion Dashing Phoebe.

Vrrroom tops Harrah's Derby

Vrrroom, winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Juvenile, goes for his third straight victory in the Grade 2, $250,000 Harrah's Entertainment Derby on Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Two starts ago, he defeated Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity winner Hard Hitting in the Two Million Juvenile and comes off an impressive trial win. He rallied as the 1-2 favorite to win by a neck, with the third fastest time of 20.148 seconds for the 400 yards.

Fast Dutchess Ann raced to the fastest qualifying time of 19.882, while winning at 7-1 odds. It was her third win from nine career starts.

Grade 1 horses try to break slumps

Former Grade 1 horses in slumps characterize the $50,000 KOFX-Radio Handicap over 350 yards Saturday at Sunland Park.

SF Royal Bank was second behind Heartswideopen in the 2007 All American Futurity but is winless in four starts since winning a minor stakes at The Downs at Albuquerque on Oct. 11.

Gun Battle was second in the 2006 All American Futurity, and his latest win was an optional claimer on Oct. 19.

Jess Destined won the 2006 West Texas Futurity and has not won in five starts over the past year.