30-1 LONGSHOT SM JESS CORONA SURPRISES WITH FASTEST TIME TO $115,000 LOS ALAMITOS MAIDEN STAKES
Twelve years after winning the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes with TR Eddie, owner Santos Montemayor will look to score his second victory in this race after homebred SM Jess Corona upset his rivals in route to posting the fastest qualifying time for this year’s $115,000 Maiden Stakes final on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Montemayor co-owned TR Eddie with Vinewood Farms when the gelding by TR Dasher outdueled a field that included All American Derby finalist Teller No Lies in the 2011 Maiden Stakes. SM Jess Corona (left) will now have Montemayor dreaming of another victory here after leading every step of the way at 30-1 odds in the first of five trials to the Maiden Stakes.
Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves for trainer Adan Farias, SM Jess Corona covered the 350 yards in :17.598 while enjoying his first victory in three career starts. The gelding by KVN Corona had previously finished sixth and third in maiden events here. His sixth-place finish on January 7 came against Amore For A Reason, who was also part of the Maiden Stakes trials. The filly by Good Reason SA finished the second fastest time of the night after winning the third trial in :17.656. Forty-two sophomores competed in the Maiden Stakes trials with SM Jess Corona and Amore For A Reason now set to lead the final to be held on Sunday, February 25. Horses had to be maidens as of November 1 to be eligible for these trials.
“Adan Farias did a great job with the horse,” Montemayor said. “He’s homebred and we saw him when he was born. Adan was very patient with him, and his patience paid off.”
“This horse is pretty special,” Farias added. “We worked him the first time and he showed ability. He worked :12.2 against a couple of horses of Heath Taylor. He had a problem, so we had to turn him out for 50 days. We gave him that time off, brought him back and he was healthy and stayed sound. No experience in his second race. He ran well (running sixth to Amore For A Reason) but not what we expected. He came back and ran a (heck) of a race tonight.”
SM Jess Corona is out of Quic Jess, who Montemayor also campaigned in partnership with Vinewood Farms. She won twice in her career and was second in the 2010 Ruidoso Distaff Challenge. SM Jess Corona’s bottom side of his breeding also includes Crash Thru Traffic, a nine-time winner of more than $140,000. She won the Sunland Park Fall Handicap and was second in both the 1997 (G1) Rainbow Futurity and 1998 (G3) West Texas Derby.
Aceves and Farias also teamed up with Jesus Avila’s Relief Factor, who won the second trial in the third fastest qualifying time of :17.698. The Separate Interest gelding came into this race after winning for the first time on January 13. He was also second in both of his trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity.
L O S LLC and Super Champion Inc.’s Amore For A Reason (left) has now won two of her three career starts after winning the second trial by ¾ lengths. Bred by Silver Racing Farm LLC, Amore For A Reason’s dam is Amore La Blue, who ran third in the 2012 (G1) Golden State Million Futurity. Jose Nicasio piloted Amore For A Reason for trainer Heath Taylor. L O S LLC and Super Champion Inc. will also have AJ King Crown in the Maiden Stakes final after the Apollitical Jess gelding won the fourth trial in the fifth fastest qualifying time of :17.753, also for the Nicasio/Taylor connection. Purchased for $310,000 at the 2022 Ruidoso Sale, AJ King Crown is out of the three-time Grade 1 futurity finalist A Tres Of Paint. AJ King Crown came into this race after running second in his trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.
Dunn Ranch’s Foosea, who won the fifth and final trial of the night, was the fourth fastest qualifier with a time of :17.709. Similarly to Amore For A Reason and Relief Factor, Foosea entered this race after winning for the first time back on December 10. Armando Cervantes piloted the Foose gelding for trainer Monty Arrossa.
The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: SM Jess Corona (:17.598), Amore For A Reason (:17.656), Relief Factor (:17.698), Foosea (:17.709), AJ King Crown (:17.753), Mr Favorite (:17.772), Mambacita (:17.787), Freddie (:17.807), LJ Lucky 7 (:17.808), and Politicaly Extoled V (:17.809).