Dutcher Fastest Qualifier to the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship
Dutcher, under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, setting the fastest time for the $103,320 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2) at Sam Houston Race Park.

© Coady Photography
Dutcher Fastest Qualifier to the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship

HOUSTON, TXóMAY 31, 2017óTwo trials were contested this evening at Sam Houston Race Park to determine the ten fastest qualifiers for the $103,320 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2).

Trainer Judd Kearl and rider Rodrigo Vallejo won both trials, with Dutcher ($5.00) setting the fastest time of :21.429, a 105-speed index into a 12-mph headwind, in the second trial. The 5-year-old was bred in Louisiana by Jumonville Farms, who owns the son of Apollitical Jess in partnership with Brian Ranch.

"Iíve had him since January, and he ran a nice race out there tonight," said Kearl.

Dutcher, a multiple grade 1 placed gelding from the Mr Eye Opener mare Louisiana Eye Opener, has earned $153,301. He was second in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity at Los Alamitos Race Course last summer.

2016 Sam Houston Derby winner Rogelio Garza Guarardoís TLC Dale, by third crop sire The Louisiana Cartel, ran second in that trial, notching the second-fastest time of :21.627 under Damian Martinez.

Jessies First Down ($2.60) won the first trial, covering 440 yards in :21.639 seconds, a 99-speed index into a 12-mph headwind. The 6-year-old son of FDD Dynasty is owned-and-bred by Ted G. Abrams, Sr. and was honored as 2016 AQHA world champion.

"He looked good in his first race back," said Abrams. "That was a stiff wind they were running into."

Coming off three straight Grade 1 wins, Jessies First Down has won nine of his last 12 starts and earned $584,507. He is out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess A Classy Lassy.

The ten fastest qualifiers will return for the final on April 16. The winner will represent Sam Houston Race Park in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), which will take place on October 14 at Prairie Meadows.

For the complete list of finalists, times, sires, dams, owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys CLICK HERE.

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Sam Houston Race Park is Houstonís premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including our Suite Level presented by Draft Kings, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winnerís Circle Restaurant and the Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming group events, racing events, shows and tickets, please visit