News - Racing December  17, 2017

Jess A Saint Returns To Winners Circle In Mardi Gras Derby


Jess A Saint (#3 inside) with jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr. aboard gets a head in front of My Favorite Blue (#9) and jockey David Alvarez to win the $86,190 Mardi Gras Derby at Louisiana Downs.

© Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

BOSSIER CITY, LA—MARCH 20, 2016—Son's of leading sire Jess Louisiana Blue made it a 1-2 photo finish in the $86,190 Mardi Gras Derby Sunday afternoon at Louisiana Downs, with LQHBA Million Futurity winner Jess A Saint getting up at the wire by a neck over My Favorite Blue.

The pair entered the race as co-fastest qualifiers from the February 21st trials. Restricted G2 winner Jet Black Zoomer ended a four-race win streak when he finished three-quarters back in third.

Regular rider Raul Ramirez, Jr. piloted Jess A Saint to his fifth career win in 10 starts for owner Julio Rios and trainer Miguel Rodriguez. They are the same trio that won the $1 million LQHBA Breeders' Futurity with the son of Jess Louisiana Blue last November at Evangeline Downs.

"He's a very nice horse. He needed his first last race as a 3-year-old," Ramirez, Jr. said following the race. "He (Jess A Saint) came back all set in the trials and was very focused. He was great in the gates today."

The brown gelding covered the 400 yards in :19.891 seconds, a 94-speed index over the 400 yards with a 15 mph tailwind. The $38,786 winner's purse boosted his career total to $512,202. J.E. and Bunny Jumonville bred Jess A Saint from the Vindication (TB) mare Laughing Saint (TB).

"We couldn't be more thankful," owner Rios said in the winner's circle. "I want to thank Miguel, Raul and the breeders. It pays to race in Louisiana."

David Alvarez was aboard My Favorite Blue for owner Tres Richards Ranch and trainer Martin Trejo. Jumonville Farms bred the stakes-placed Jess Louisiana Blue colt from the Fishers Dash mare Dasha Effort. The $14,653 runner-up check brings My Favorite Blues earnings mark to $76,818.

Winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile(RG2) and the Billy Montgomery LAD Stakes, Jet Black Zoomer was a game third under jockey Alberto Antonio. Kelli Smith conditions the Jet Black Patriot gelding for Joseph Landreneau. Bred by S K T Farms, Inc., from the Shazoom mare Dealazoom, Jet Black Zoomer boosted his earnings mark to nearly $100,000 after picking up $8,620 for third.

Punctuality, Jetz A Streakin, Heisa Hot Ticket, Grants Game, Streakin Bye U and An American Outlaw completed the field.

Additional reporting by Martha Clausen.

Courtesy Ses