Farnsworth Stables’ 6-year-old mare Jessica Is Back rallied in deep stretch of the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at the Summit of Speed at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday to win her first Grade I race and earn a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup in the fall.
The Princess Rooney Handicap, along with the Smile Sprint Handicap, is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In’ program, whereby the winner of each race automatically qualifies for his and her respective division at the $26 million 2010 Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on November 5-6.
Trained by Marty Wolfson and ridden by jockey Elvis Trujillo, Jessica Is Back came from off the pace in the six-furlong race featuring 12 of the top filly and mare sprinters in the country. That early pace was set by Dr. Zic and Warbling, a pair of 4-year-olds shipping in to Calder from Kentucky. Jessica Is Back completed the distance in 1:11.48, beating Warbling by two lengths. A length farther back was Dubai Majesty in third.
Jessica Is Back earned $203,980 for the victory, pushing her lifetime earnings to $771,765. She returned $19.00, $7.40, and $5.40 at the mutuel windows.
Winning trainer quotes:
Marty Wolfson — “I was confident she’d run good today turning back (in distance), but she had run some good races sprinting as a 4-year-old and, in this race last year, she just about got pushed over the fence. You have to see the replay to see how bad it was. She can’t run with ‘Rachel’ (2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra) although she did for a little while in that last race. I’ll keep her here and look around for the right spot. She’s very versatile, so there are plenty of options.”
Winning jockey’s quotes:
Elvis Trujillo – ““I think this mare had a little bit of an advantage over some of the others since she has run very well at this track all of her life. The two horses that set the pace went fast early and that played into our hands. It paid to just sit and wait, so around the turn I knew I had a lot of horse and I sat chilly until we straightened out, then let her go on from there.”