12/08/2011 2:56PM

Los Alamitos: Jess You and I back for fourth try in Champion of Champions


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Jess You and I has become an annual fixture in the Champion of Champions, the year-end Quarter Horse stakes at Los Alamitos that brings together many of the nation’s leading older horses.

Jess You and I won the 2008 Champion of Champions as a 4-year-old, but was eighth in 2009 and fourth last year. For his fourth consecutive appearance in Saturday’s $750,000 Champion of Champions, Jess You and I could make history, as the first 7-year-old winner.

He will arrive at the start as the expected favorite, rested after a sharp win in the Los Alamitos Championship on Oct. 9, the seventh Grade 1 win of his 34-race career. A repeat of that race would give Jess You and I a victory on Saturday, according to trainer Paul Jones.

“I think the same race will do,” he said.

Jess You and I drew post 9 of 10 in the Champion of Champions, which is run over 440 yards. Post positions were selected by owners and trainers at a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon after a random draw order was determined. Jones had first selection with Jess You and I, and chose the same post from which the gelding won the Los Alamitos Championship.

“I think the post will suit him,” Jones said. “He’s not in the gate long and he doesn’t like the inside. Even when he gallops, he stays away from the inside.”

Owned by Double Bar S Ranch, Jess You and I has won 18 of 34 starts and $1,754,827. The first-place purse in the Champion of Champions is $375,000.

Jones has three of the 10 runners in the Champion of Champions, including Good Reason Sa, who was eighth in the 2010 Champion of Champions; and Favorite Cartel, who won the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on Oct. 29.

The race features eight horses who made their last two starts at Los Alamitos and two shippers from Texas trained by Heath Reed – Llano Teller and Louisiana Senator.

Llano Teller won the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in September, but was fourth in the Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park on Nov. 12. Louisiana Senator won the Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park on Oct. 1.

“I’m not going to prefer one,” Reed said. “It’s always your dream to win this race or the All American Futurity.”