After seeing his horses compete in over 130 races, all of the maiden and claiming variety, owner C.K. Allen, Jr. may have finally found his “big horse”. In Allen, Jr.’s case, his “big horse” is actually a lightly raced homebred 3-year-old filly named Strawfinders Jessee, which on Saturday night posted her second allowance victory for Allen, Jr. and his wife, Laurel.
“We’re little breeders,” said Allen, Jr., a structural engineer in Costa Mesa. “We bred Strawfinders Jessee so that makes her special. We had only raced in claiming races until she came along. When she won (on January 30) that was our first ever allowance win.”
One race later, the filly by One Sweet Jess gave the Allens another moment of joy when she held off 2015 Rainbow Futurity finalist Mr PYC To You to win Saturday’s eighth race, an $11,325 allowance race.
“We owe it all to (trainer) John Cooper,” said Allen, Jr. referring to the filly’s conditioner.
The Allens and Cooper have been a team since the early 2000s, winning 21 races from 139 starts for earnings of over $160,000. Prior to Strawfinders Jessee, their most successful runner may have been Rate Me Royal, which took the Allens to the winner’s circle 8 times in 31 starts while racing up and down the claiming ladder at Los Alamitos.
One of Allen, Jr.’s first experiences in racing came with a Dash Ta Fame gelding bred in Utah named Rebs Fame, which he campaigned in partnership with his friend, Jim Chance. The Tricky Fun gelding Rate Me Royal came soon after, as he gave the owner a pair of third place finishes in 2001. The Allens then partnered with John and Carol Cooper to campaign three-time winner Sheza Flight Risk and winners Too Cute Too Short and What A Find.
On their own, the Allens have also won twice with Egos Classic Bay and enjoyed three victories with Strawfinders Jessee’s mother, the Strawflyin Buds mare Strawfinder. Having already matched her dam with three wins of her own, Strawfinders Jessee’s future appears bright. All those wins came with Cooper on their side.
The Allens love their horses. A California native, Allen, Jr. has in times past been involved in the design of several equestrian facilities in California and several other states. The racehorses, particularly Strawfinders Jessee, are now providing them with some fun times at the track.
“We’re just happy,” Allen, Jr. said. “We just have a couple of horses each year. Right now we only have two, but it’s a lot of fun. This filly has been a lot of fun. We owe Carol and John Cooper, Jim Chance, and Cathy and John Firth for any success we will ever have in horse racing. Those folks have been and continue to be such great people (and they) take such good care of us. Plus, everyone at Los Alamitos has always been great to us.”