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Feature Jess Rockin Wins Fair Grounds Challenge

In a track record-breaking performance, Reed Land and Cattle Co. LLC’s Feature Jess Rockin led gate to wire and earned a berth into the Nov. 19 Grade I, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship with a dominant one-length victory over Vrrroom in the $40,000 Fair Grounds Challenge Stakes on Closing Day of the Quarter Horse Racing Season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The 5-year-old mare, trained by Donnie Strickland, covered the 440-yard distance over a sealed sloppy track in :21.397 and earned a Speed Index of 112.

“She’s a class act,” said jockey John Hamilton, who was aboard the winner for the first time. “She goes like an old gelding, not a mare. Coming to the gate she had some issues but this crew here is just outstanding. They’re true horsemen and they got her to relax. She broke out but still kept her composure. I think she really likes the track. That was a heck of a ride.”

Feature Jess Rockin, an Oklahoma-bred by Feature Mr Jess, paid $10 to win as the third choice and increased her career earnings to $116,982.

Louisiana-bred Martini Mountain finished third and favored Illegal Memories was fourth in a field of eight older horses.

The Challenge Championships will be held at Fair Grounds for the first time on Nov. 19.

Mr Vikenson Takes Treme
One race earlier, Rodrigo Salas’ Mr Vikenson, with J.R. Ramirez up, won the $50,000 Treme Stakes for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds by a head over No Playing Games. The winner, an Embrujo Fg gelding trained by Judy Beavin, completed the 350 yards in :17.677, earning a Speed Index of 101.

Mr Vikenson paid $13.40 to win as the fourth choice in a field of nine. La Mos Chingono was third.

Lujan, Roberts, Zingelmann Win Titles

Alfonso Lujan earned his first leading rider title at Fair Grounds with 15 wins over the 10-day season, five more than John Hamilton in second with 10 wins.

Kenneth Roberts Sr. earned his first leading trainer crown at Fair Grounds, besting Danny Joe Eldridge, nine wins to seven.

Three names were tied at the top of the owner standings with three wins apiece: Geral Dewitt, Eldridge and Shelly and Michael Zingelmann. Dewitt also tied for leading owner at the 2009 Quarter Horse meet.

American Quarter Horse racing returns to Fair Grounds for one of the sport’s marquee events, the Bank of America Challenge Championships, on Nov. 19. The 2010-2011 Thoroughbred Racing Season will open an 84-day stand on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25. Reservations for the Challenge Championships and the Thoroughbred season will be taken by phone beginning Oct. 18 at (504) 948-1171.