HES CHICKLESS OUTDUELS HES JUDGEANDJURY TO WIN A RANSOM HANDICAP
Jeryl Hartley’s homebred Hes Chickless took advantage once again of his outstanding quickness out of the gate and then held off the strong late rush of All American Futurity winner Hes Judgeandjury to win the $25,000 A Ransom Handicap by a nose on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Juan Pablo Leon for trainer Sergio Morfin, Hes Chickless led the 350-yard race for 3-year-olds by a length after the first 100 yards and he needed every bit of that early acceleration to score his fourth win this season. The colt by Hes Relentless has been a relentless performer this year, as his 12 starts are tied for second most starts by a Quarter Horse this season, only behind Rios Renegade’s 13 starts. Hes Chickless has competed at the top level all season long, winning the Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby in the process, while also running in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby, Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, and the Grade 2 Golden State Derby. However, being an iron horse would be something that the late Ron Hartley would have enjoyed.
“My dad would have been so happy, so happy,” said Dana Collum, who accompanied her mother, Jeryl, in the winner’s circle for this race. “He wanted to see these babies on the ground. Hes Chickless has been amazing. We’re going to keep racing him (in 2024). We’re going to keep him running, keep him at the track and place him in some races. We’re looking at the (Grade 1) Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials and (Grade 1) Vessels Maturity trials.”
Collum added that racing Hes Chickless in the Moonist Stakes in March is another target. Hartley, of course, campaigned AQHA Champion Moonist to a sensational career from 2013 to 2016. Moonist won 24 races in 34 starts and earned nearly $900,000 in the process.
The Hartleys longtime friends John and Carol Cooper are undoubtedly enjoying Hes Chickless campaign as well.
“Carol will call us on our way home,” Collum said with a smile.
Hes Chickless earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $222,184. Covering the 350 yards in :17.589, the California-bred runner improved his record to nine wins from 20 starts.
Owned by Steve Holt and Jeff Jones, Hes Judgeandjury earned $5,625 for his runner-up effort in this race. Also sired by Hes Relentless, Hes Judgeandjury’s career earnings are now $1,962,115.
Wasting Light, Space Flight, Up For Everything, Marcelo, Pragmatic, and Disruptor completed the field.