Champion Jesses First Down Unchallenged In Championship at Sunland Park
Jessies First Down, under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, picks up his fourth Grade 1 win of 2018 in the $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on Sunday.

© Coady Photography
Champion Jesses First Down Unchallenged In Championship at Sunland Park

SUNLAND PARK, NM—DECEMBER 30, 2018—Reigning back-to-back world champion Jesses First Down capped off a perfect 4-for-4 season on Sunday when he defeated Jess Bein The Hero by one-length in the Grade 1 $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park. Major Bites finished a neck back in the show position.

Under champion jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, Jessies First Down completed the 440 yards in :231.156 seconds, a 103 speed index with a 6 mph tailwind to pick up this fourth consecutive grade 1 win of the year.

The son of leading sire FDD Dynasty kicked off the season with a win in the Leo Stakes (G1), then won the Remington Park Invitational Championship(G1) and the Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship(G1) before today's victory.

The winning connections of Jesses First Down accept the Championship at Sunland Park (G1) stakes trophy Sunday afternoon. © Coady Photography
The win sets up the back-to-back reigning world champion as a leading contender to become the first horse since Go Man Go in 1957 to three-peat as AQHA Racing's World Champion.

Trainer Jimmy Padgett, II saddled the 7-year-old gelding to his 19th career win for owner/ breeder Ted Abrams. Out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess A Classy Lassy, Jessies First Down picked up $157,000 to bring his earnings total to $1,624,002.

World Champion Jesses First Down return under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo after winning the Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park © Coady Photography
Trainer Josue Ponce saddled runner-up Jess Bein The Hero for owner Juan Martinez-Labastida.

Curtis Crenwelge bred the Valiant Hero 5-year-old in Texas from the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Braggin. Ridden by Manuel Gutierrez, the multiple graded winner picked up $70,000 to push his earnings to $266,870.

Coming off back-to-back RG1 wins at Zia Park, Major Bites earned $32,000 for finishing third. Jimmy Guerra trains the 5-year-old Jesses James Jr New Mexico bred for owner Israel Borider. Jose Alverez rode the bay gelding from the Major Rime mare Dyna Mo Rime. He has earned more than $703,000.

Apollitical Chad, Papaws Paint, Firing Tools, High Rate Of Motion, Mr Pyc To You, Mi Amor Secreto and Valiant Rogue completed the field.

Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.