Rock Solid Jess, Jess A Lil Bit More Set Stakes Records in Dash For Cash Futurity, Derby at LSP<

(Saturday, October 27, 2007) - Rock Solid Jess and Jess a Lil Bit More, both progeny of AQHA Champion and $687,184-earner Mr Jess Perry, blazed their way to record-breaking victories in the Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity and Derby, respectively, before a crowd of 7,282 on Saturday night at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Rock Solid Jess, ridden by J.J. Gonzales II, ran 400 yards in :19.51 while winning the $432,090 Futurity. Jess a Lil Bit More clocked 440 yards in :21.27 in the Derby, which was worth a record $214,500. Both times were stakes records - the fastest in 10 editions of each race - and were awarded Speed Indexes of 108.

Rock Solid Jess eclipsed Silvered Eyes' time of :19.54 in the 2002 Dash For Cash Futurity and was just three-hundredths of a second off Eyesa Special's :19.48 track record in the 2000 Texas Classic Futurity. Jess a Lil Bit More topped champion Significant Speed's :21.41 in 2000 for the Derby.

Rock Solid Jess, a 2-year-old Oklahoma-bred colt owned by Jack Manning of Odessa, Texas and trained by Mike Wakefield, collected his first stakes win and improved his record to three wins from nine starts. The $172,839 winner's share of the purse jumped his bankroll to $196,607.

"He loves it here," said Wakefield, who has trained for Manning for nearly a decade. "I always thought he'd get better with the longer distances. He runs a lot like his full brother [Jess Rock On] who was a pretty nice horse (a winner of four races and $155,615 in 15 starts between 2003-04, including a third place finish in the 2003 Texas Classic Futurity). He'll come back for the Texas Classics in a couple of weeks."

Rock Solid Jess dueled gamely down the lane with Rainbow Futurity runner-up Possum Fust, surged past that rival and held off a late charge from fastest qualifier and 2-1 favorite Illegal Memories to win by a half-length.

"I rode him here two weeks ago and he ran a big race," Gonzales said of the Oct. 13 trial in :22.164, which ranked eighth. "I was just asking for a clean break tonight and I got it. He broke sharp and he ran the race I thought he would."

Rock Solid Jess paid $36.40 to win.

Jess a Lil Bit More also scored an upset with AQHA champion jockey G.R. Carter Jr. in the saddle.

The filly, owned by Stephen Williams of Weimar, Texas and trained by Heath Taylor, broke fastest of all in the field of 10 three-year-olds and never looked back. She paid $30 to win and beat stakes winner Mister Ww by a half-length with Sassys Tuffy third. Diamond Tres Seis, another Taylor runner who was unbeaten in five starts this year, checked in seventh as the 8-5 favorite.

"Both horses were training super," Taylor said. "I hated to draw the rail with Diamond Tres Seis and he ran like he was slipping and sliding and couldn't get a hold of the racetrack. But Jess a Lil Bit More ran super. She left the gate like a rocket and she's running with a lot of confidence right now. When they've got the confidence, they can be hard to catch."

The $85,801 winner's share of the Derby purse jumped Jess a Lil Bit More's earnings to $141,306. It was the Arkansas-bred's sixth trip to the winner's circle in 12 outs.

"She felt good warming up before the race and she was really on her toes," said Carter, who performed his trademark back flip off Jess a Lil Bit More after the race. "I was looking for her to run big. She just fired out of there and ran a strong race."

Saturday's 11-race program also included the $48,010 Dash For Cash Juvenile Stakes, which was won by Eyesa Jumpn ($7.80). Santos Carrizales rode the winner for owned Adrian Huitron and trainer Jose Ramos.

Late Friday night, Desirable Properties Inc.'s Ida Snow Man ($6.60), ridden by Jeff Jerman and trained by Michael Zingelmann, won the $20,000 6666 Ranch Handicap.

Live racing at Lone Star Park will resume Wednesday night (Halloween) with a nine-race program at 6:35 p.m. CT.

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