Trainer Kelly Heltzel’s barn is as hot as an Apollo NASA liftoff and her horse named Mr Apollo Jess looked like a rocket in qualifying as the fastest overall horse over two nights of trials for the restricted Grade 1, $926,500 Remington Park Futurity.

Mr Apollo Jess will definitely be the horse to beat in that race for 2-year-old Oklahoma-bred Quarter Horses going 330 yards, scheduled for Saturday, April 17. No one is hotter than Heltzel at this race meet as she has started horses 10 times and won six, running second and third with two more. Heltzel, a new face at Remington Park, only started one horse Saturday night and that was Mr Apollo Jess, a son of Apollitical Jess, out of the First Down Dash mare A Delightful Legacy.

Heltzel’s horses have earned $78,985 in 10 starts at Remington Park this year. Last year, she only started horses six times all year and the best she could do is one second and one third for $5,533 earned.

Mr Apollo Jess, with jockey Juan Pulido up, broke seventh from the gate and soon moved up to second in the stretch. From the No. 2 post position, he finally took over about halfway home and drew off to win by 1-3/4 lengths in a time of :16.831 over the fast track, the only one of the 10 qualifiers to break the 17-second mark for 330 yards. He earned a speed index of 88 for the effort. The second fastest qualifier for both nights had an 83 when Especially Jess ran :17.016 on Friday night.

Mr Apollo Jess is owned by Zitro Racing Corp (Pedro Ortiz-Castillo) of Forney, Texas.

He was bred in Oklahoma by Rancho El Cabresto Inc. The colt’s bloodlines were an indication that he might be something special. His sire, Apollitical Jess, is the all-time leading sire of money earners for a single season. He produced two All American Futurity winners – Apocalyptical Jess and Mr Jess Jenkins.

In Mr Apollo Jess’ career debut, he broke dead last in a field of 10 horses and still passed them all at 250 yards to get up for the win on March 18 against maidens. He won by a neck at 9-1 odds that night. Saturday night, Mr Apollo Jess was sent off as the heavy wagering favorite at 3-5 odds and paid $3.20 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show.

Here are the fastest 10 qualifiers from Friday and Saturday (with their jockey, trainer, trial number, times and speed index) were:

Mr Apollo Jess, Juan Pulido, Kelly Heltzel, trial four, :16.831 seconds, 88
EM High Country, Francisco Calderon, Tammy Johnson, trial two, :17.088, 80
Nash Ridge, Rolando Raudales, Stacey Capps, trial four, :17.109, 80
Dreams of the Heart, Raul Valenzuela, Dee Keener, trial nine, :17.115, 80
Trapper Jon, Jimmy Brooks, Eddie Willis, trial five, :17.116, 80

Especially Jess, Jose Alvarez, Trey Wood, trial four, :17.016 seconds, 83
Reimagine, Francisco Calderon, Jose U. Lopez, trial three, :17.085, 81
First Prize Dash 2, Raul Ramirez, Jr., Manuel Rodriguez, trial five, :17.146, 79
AJs Tres of Paint, James Flores, Troy Carter, trial five, :17.158, 78
San Lorenzo Tay, Juan Pulido, Kelly Heltzel, trial eight, :17.168, 78

Remington Park racing resumes Thursday through Sunday, April 8-11, with the first race nightly at 6pm-Central.

Tracked by more than 165,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $258 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 open daily for casino gaming and simulcast horse racing. The 2021 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season continues through May 29. Visit for more information.