11/22/2012 12:07PM

Los Alamitos: Jess You and I targets berth in Champion of Champions

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The comeback of the 8-year-old gelding Jess You and I this fall has been geared toward Saturday’s $15,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial at Los Alamitos.

A top-three finish in the 400-yard race would earn Jess You and I a fifth consecutive appearance in the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 15. Jess You and I won the 2008 Champion of Champions, the year he was named champion aged horse.

“We plan his vacations that way,” co-owner Dawn List said. “We did this on purpose. I think he’s ready to go.”

Jess You and I was second in an allowance race Oct. 28, his first start since a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February. Jess You and I finished fourth in the Winter Championship, but was disqualified and placed seventh for causing interference. If he had won that race, he would have received an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions.

Instead, Jess You and I is one of eight horses in the single trial. Los Alamitos officials expect that the first three finishers will earn berths to the final. It could be more if some of the runners who have earned automatic berths to the race do not start in the 440-yard Champion of Champions next month.

The trial runners are seeking to join 2012 major stakes winners Charal Kid, Chivalry Sr, Cold Cash 123, Deniro, El Aguila Real, Flame N Flash, and Rylees Boy in the 10-horse Champion of Champions field.

Jess You and I was eighth in the 2009 Champion of Champions and fourth in the last two runnings. Trained by Paul Jones, Jess You and I has won 18 of 39 starts and $1,822,864.

Trial entrants Creston Goer, Senor Toby, and Sparky E Boy were second through fourth behind 2011 World Champion Cold Cash 123 in the Go Man Go Handicap in September. Last year, Sparky E Boy was second by a nose to Good Reason SA in the Champion of Champions.

Another notable runner in Saturday’s trial is the 3-year-old Hez Our Secret, who was second in the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in September and second to Deniro in the Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 3.