Chasing Aj Scores First Career Stakes Win In $350,000 Texas Classic Derby [G1]
Chasing Aj (#4), with Rodrigo Vallejo in the irons, wins $350,000 Texas Classic Derby [G1] by a neck over Jess Good Wine at Lone Star Park on Saturday evening.

Dustin Orona Photography/Lone Star Park
Chasing Aj Scores First Career Stakes Win In $350,000 Texas Classic Derby [G1]

GRANDE PRAIRIE, TX–NOVEMBER 18, 2023–Chasing Aj prevailed late for the win over post-time favorite and fastest qualifier from the trials Jess Good Wine in the $350,000 Texas Classic Derby [G1].

Favored second best, Chasing Aj's 3/4-length victory under Rodrigo Vallejo paid $8.80 to win on 3/1 odds. The duo clocked a 95 speed index in :21.453 seconds on the 440-yard straightaway.

Lighting the board 12 of 15 starts, Chasing Aj has six career wins and the $213,047 winner's portion of the derby's purse puts his pocket book at $907,069. The son of Apollitical Jess is no stranger to Grade 1 competition but tonight's victory is his first career stakes win. 

Chasing Aj placed second in the All American Derby [G1], third in the Rainbow Derby [G1] and All American Futurity [G1] and was a finalist in the Ruidoso and Rainbow Futurities [G1]. He also placed second in the Ruidoso Invitational Stakes after falling short on his time to the Ruidoso Derby [G1].

The winning connections of Chasing AJ accept the $350,000 Texas Classic Derby [G1] trophy at Lone Star Park on Saturday. © Dustin Orona Photography/Lone Star Park

Steve Holt, who owns Chasing AJ in partnership with Charles Cox, Jack Powers and Roger Moore, purchased him for $95,000 in the 2021 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. The gray gelding was bred by Don Griffin, Jr. in Texas out of Eye On This Candy by Mr Eye Opener.

After being fractious in the gates, Jess Good Wine was first out but was came up short by a neck at the wire for second with Bryan Candanosa controlling the reins. The multiple stakes winner has lit the board 11 of 13 starts with five career wins and $270,083 in earnings, including the All American and Rainbow Invitational Stakes this year.

Breeder Flag Ranch, LLC sold Jess Good Wine for $35,000 to Guns Up Racing in the 2022 Heritage Place Yearling Sale. The son of Good Reason SA was bred in Oklahoma out of Mr Perrys Wine by Mr Jess Perry.

Following a 1/2-length behind Jess Good Wine was Im No Lawyer Butt, who was piloted by Agustin Silva in a late rally for show. The four-time winner earned his first blacktype status from the derby finish increasing his earnings to $91,743.

Jamie Bryant, who currently owns Im No Lawyer Butt in partnership with Scott Bryant, and Krista Reed paid $140,000 for him in the 2021 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. Stone Chase Stables, LLC bred the son of One Famous Eagle in Oklahoma out of the Carters Cartel mare Cartel Rosie.

Completing the order of finish is Jes An Angel, Market Analysis, Aristides, Ray Yeigh, Hes A Jet One and Rusted Good.