JESS MY HOCKS GIVES TRAINER MICHELLE HURDLE HER FIRST GRADE 1 STAKES VICTORY IN WINNING LEO STAKES
Trainer Michelle Hurdle was a two-time stakes winner prior to Saturday, but when Jess My Hocks won the $104,800 Leo Stakes, she became a Grade 1 stakes-winning trainer for the first time.
Hurdle has been stepping up the stakes ladder this whole meet at Remington Park, becoming a Grade 2 stakes-winning conditioner for the first time when Charlies Fury won the Bob Moore Memorial Stakes on April 17. Prior to 2021, Hurdle’s top victory came in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Futurity with Cold Granite Stone in 2011. That horse was her first barn star, winning 7-of-14 starts lifetime, running out $222,583 for his career.
Jockey Agustin Silva popped out of the gate on top with Jess My Hocks and the 4-year-old gelding dug in and wouldn’t let Danjer, last year’s American Quarter Horse Association Champion Aged Horse/Gelding, cut into his lead to the wire. Jess My Hocks, at 7-2 odds, outlasted the 8-5 betting favorite Danjer by a nose in the 400-yard race to the wire. Mi Amor Secreto (5-2) was another 2-1/2 lengths back in third.
Silva always jokes about how he just closes his eyes and hangs on when he wins a stakes race. This race was different.
“I didn’t close my eyes this time,” he said. “Thankfully we got the nose (win). I was pretty sure he was going to run better this time (than he did in the third-place Sooner State Stakes finish on April 17).”
Hurdle, who makes her home in Sallisaw, Okla., has been training since 2006 and her horses have earned $2,824,700. She has had 182 wins, 189 seconds and 166 thirds. She got this win for owners Tom and Kathleen McNally of Guthrie, Okla., the same owners that have Charlies Fury.
Jess My Hocks, a 4-year-old gelded son of Kiss My Hocks, out of the Take Off Jess mare Jess Charlena, stopped the timer for 400 yards in :19.824 on the fast track for a speed index of 87. The winner is a half-brother to Charlies Fury out of the same dam. Jess Charlena has been good to the McNallys and Hurdle. How good?
“Oh, she’s a lifer,” said Hurdle. “She’s not going anywhere. We have a couple of more yearlings from her that are coming up, one by FDD Dynasty and the other by Furyofthewind (Charlies Fury’s sire),” The McNallys own and breed Jess Charlena yearly.
What made this victory even more special for Jess My Hocks is that when he won, he beat a champion.
“He (Danjer) was coming to get us,” said Hurdle. “To be honest with you, when we saw that Danjer was in the race, we wanted to beat him so bad because he always beats Charlie. We were hoping that Charlie’s (half) brother could get redemption for him.”
Hurdle said getting her first Grade 1 win was “amazing.”
“Getting the Grade 1 with this horse and the Grade 2 with Charlie, those are goals most trainers would have,” she said. “We all want to do our best. Having a race under Jess My Hocks’ belt had to help him against Danjer (who was coming off a layoff from October).”
Jess My Hocks paid $9.80 to win, $4 to place and $3 to show.
It was the first win in the Leo Stakes for all connections. Jess My Hocks earned $64,638 for the victory and improved his record to 14 starts, eight wins, and three thirds for a lifetime bankroll of $260,193.
Remington Park live racing continues Sunday, May 2 with the first race at 6pm-Central.
Tracked by more than 165,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $260 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park is home to the $1 million Heritage Place Futurity on May 29. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.