LARC NEWS Posted: 8/12/2017 11:50:28 PM

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       Trainer Lin Melton knew after Maggie Durant won the Matron Stakes on California Breeders Champions Night in late July that it was only a matter of time until Maggie Durant and stablemate Time For Jess would have to face each other for the first time in a race. Their anticipated first encounter happened on Saturday night at Los Alamitos Race Course when the two stablemates shared the starting gate for the first time in the $28,260 Merial California Distaff Challenge.

The result of their first meeting could not have turned out any better for Melton and owners Spackman Racing, as Time For Jess won convincingly from post number one, while Maggie Durant finished strongly to grab second place in the 400 yard stakes event. After the race, a smiling Melton led both of the mares into the winner’s circle for a special snapshot their first race together.

“I’ve been putting it off for three years,” said Melton about racing them together. “”It was time. They did me really proud. They’re great mares, both of them are unbelievable. On her day, Time For Jess can run with anybody.”

Ridden by Cesar De Alba for owner Spackman Racing, Time For Jess was sharp at the start and strong in the second half of the race en route to a ¾ length victory in a time of :19.695. The 4-year-old by Apollitical Jess earned $13,282  to take her lifetime earnings to $309,079. This was her sixth win in 23 career starts. Joining Lin Melton in the winner’s circle was Bo Spackman, the grandson of long-time owner Kelly Spackman.  

“It felt great seeing those two horses in the same race and getting first and second, there’s nothing better to come out of that win,” Bo Spackman said. “I can’t thank Lin enough for everything he’s done for us.”

Spackman is hoping that this is one of many future trips for him in the winner’s circle at Los Alamitos.

“My grandfather, Kelly, started (the racing operation).  My dad (K.C.) started taking over and hopefully I’m third generation coming seeing what we can do with this. I’m excited to be a part of it and I love every minute of this.”

Bred by Kelly/Yearsley Equine Llc, Time For Jess won the Adequan California Derby Challenge last year. Her other top stakes results at Los Alamitos include runner-up efforts in the Grade 2 Southern California Derby and a third place finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby. She ran in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in 2015 and earlier this year she finished second in the Miss Princess Handicap.

Owned by Melton and Spackman Racing, Maggie Durant earned $5,652 for her second place finish to take her lifetime earnings to $86,176. Ridden by G. Jairo Rangel in this race, the Spackman-bred daughter of One Sweet Jess won the Merial California Distaff Challenge last year. It took a big effort from her stablemate to prevent her from winning for a second straight year.

Owned by Vincent Treyes and trained by Monty Arrossa, Duck Dash N Go finished third. Doing Trix, First N Final, Jess Envision, Jess Good Reason, Zendaya, and Fire The Senator completed the field.

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