Making her stakes debut in only her third career start, John and Cina Sperry’s Jess Good Reason put her talent on display, as she overcame an awkward start to rally back and win the $20,000 Holiday Handicap by a nose on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Starting from the outside post number seven, Jess Good Reason was fifth at the start and sixth and nearly two lengths behind the leader High Class Cartel in the early going. Jockey Roberto Hernandez was able to regroup the filly and she did the rest, as she made up the early ground lost and winning the 350-yard dash in a blanket finish that also included Jorge Moya’s Ivys Storm, Jesus Nava’s Luv On The Run, and Valentin Zamudio’s TLM Streakin Joy.
“She lost her hind legs at the start,” said trainer Paul Jones of Jess Good Reason. “She didn’t get a good start and then she got bumped. She finally recovered and once she leveled out her talent took over. She’s a pretty good filly, but she made a few mistakes. She didn’t want to go in the gate. We’ll have to do some more work with her in the gate. We’ve worked with her a lot and she was doing a lot better. Then she ran a race (on December 6) and she got fresh again and was a little tough in the gate. We’ll go back to work with her and I think she’ll be ready for her next start.”
Jones said that Jess Good Reason’s next outing will come in the trials to the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Saturday, January 23. The filly by Good Reason SA will go into the trials with an undefeated record after winning all three of her starts in 2015. The filly did not make her racing debut until November 1, which was a daylight win against a maiden field. Her other outing was an easy 1 ¼ length victory against conditioned allowance horses.
“We took our time with her,” said John Sperry. “We had a combination of issues with her so we had to give her a break. We always knew that she had talent. The farther she goes the better she gets. Her mother is very good and Paul trained her dad, Good Reason SA. I felt the combination of the two would work.”
With Hernandez in the irons, Jess Good Reason covered the 350-yard race for 2-year-olds in :17.946. Hernandez, who was picking up his first ever stakes victory, has piloted the filly in all three of her starts so far.
“It was a great job by (Roberto) tonight,” Sperry added.
Bred by Preston and Karen Cloud, the Oklahoma-bred Jess Good Reason earned $11,000 to take her lifetime earnings to $21,640. She was repurchased for $17,000 at the 2014 Los Alamitos Equine Sale.
Ridden by Santiago Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Ivys Storm earned $4,500 for running second. The Sergio Fiscal-trained Luv On The Run earned $2,500 for running third. TLM Streak Joy was followed by Timely Delivery, High Class Cartel, and Trixsey Sue.