Dave and Sally Kidd’s KR Hi Five, winner of the Grade 2 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship in 2018, earned a spot in the 2019 Bank of America Challenge Championship after recovering from a stumble at the start to score a half-length victory over Hez Jess A Secret in the Adequan California Derby Challenge on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Jose Nicasio for trainer Jaime Gomez, KR Hi Five was on the lead at the start and maintained his advantage throughout the 400-yard derby in route to his fifth career victory at Los Alamitos. Three of those wins have come in stakes races, as he also won the 2018 Wild West Futurity to go along with John Deere final and Adequan California regional. His derby win on Sunday makes the son of Five Bar Cartel eligible to race in the Grade 3 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship to be held at Albuquerque Downs on October 26.
Bred by his owners, KR Hi Five covered the distance in a hand time of :19.90, while earning $17,157 for his first place finish. The Colorado-bred gelding has won a total of six of 13 races and has earned $156,433 in his career.
Mark and Peggy Brown's Idaho homebred Hez Jess A Secret earned $7,378 for his runner-up effort in this event. Ridden by Jonathan Roman for trainer Roman Figueroa, the Hez Our Secret gelding has finished in the money in four of seven starts. banked $15,336.Trainer Mark Skeen saddled Bolt For Gold to a third place finish for owner/breeders Mesa Valley Farms LLC. Cruz Mendez rode the Utah-bred gelding. Unwavering Patriot, Loan Sharky and Sassy Favorite completed the field.