By Michael Cusortelli

Pick Your Pour

Making his first official start since February 17, Pick Your Pour sped to a wire-to-wire victory in the June 2, $50,000 Jess Burner Stakes (R) for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs.

Pick Your Pour covered 400 yards in :19.805 while racing against a reported 12-mph head wind, and his margin of victory was a clear three lengths from 5-2 favorite Just En King. James Gonzales III prepped and Ali Rivera rode the 4-year-old Jesse James Jr gelding for owners Orlando Granillo, Azucena Mendoza and Rene Mendoza.

Pick Your Pour was stretching out in distance off his third-place finish, one length behind winner Jesses Wish, in the 350-yard, $100,000 Pepsi Cola Handicap (R) for state-breds at Sunland Park on February 17. The gelding was bred by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and he was a $25,000 purchase at the 2021 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Pick Your Pour’s sire, Jesse James Jr, was a son of 1994 AQHA champion 2-year-old Mr Jess Perry. Raced in California and New Mexico from 2003-06, Jesse James Jr earned $167,275 from 21 starts, and his five wins included the 2005 First Down Dash Handicap at Los Alamitos. The stallion also ran second in the 2004 Golden State Derby (G1) and third in that season’s Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1).

Jesse James Jr has from 14 crops sired the earners of more than $23.2 million, including 2015 champion sophomore filly Astica, and multiple graded stakes winners Major Bites, Colby James, and Osbaldo. A full brother to 2006 Retama Park Derby (G1) winner Jesstified, the stallion died after a battle with laminitis in August 2017.

Pick Your Pour is out of Tangled Vines, a winning homebred daughter of the First Down Dash stallion Dash Ta Fame. A 2003 foal, Tangled Vines produced  a total of four stakes winners, including Rex Hill, a graded stakes winning full brother to Pick Your Pour, Vine Master, a stakes-winning full brother to Pick Your Pour, and Legend Of The Vine, a graded stakes winning half brother to Pick Your Pour.

Pick Your Pour’s second dam, Dashin Sandy, was a homebred Streakin Dash mare who won the 1992 Diamond Classic Futurity (RG2) at Casper, Wyoming. Dashin Sandy produced Champagne Lane, a graded stakes winning daughter of Lanes Leinster and the dam of 2009 AQHA champion sophomore filly Alice K White and multiple Grade 1 winner Kendall Jackson.

Campaigned exclusively in New Mexico, Pick Your Pour has won six of 14 races — including five of eight at Ruidoso Downs — and the $30,000 winner’s share of the Jess Burner Stakes purse pushed his earnings to $349,261. The gelding has won two stakes, including the 2022 Mountain Top Futurity (RG2) for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds at Ruidoso Downs, and he ended his 3-year-old season with a third-place finish, a neck behind winner White Lightenin, in the November 26, $229,000 New Mexico Classic Derby (RG2) at Zia Park.

White Lightenin ran third, a head behind runner-up Just En King. Cruzin For Chickz, Dos Special Eye, Doing Something Good, Jesses Wish, Chi Chi Jima Raider, RC Corona King, and Warm Red Wine completed the official order of finish.

Just En King is a homebred 4-year-old son of Eye Am King owned by Ronald N. Ulibarri, and the sorrel gelding came into the Jess Burner with a three-race win streak that included graded stakes scores at Zia Park and SunRay Park. Just En King has won five of 13 outs, and the $10,000 runner-up share of the Jess Burner purse increased his bankroll to $307,073.

A $32,000 yearling buy at the 2021 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs, White Lightenin races for Denis and Julie Schoenhofer. The 4-year-old Eye Am King gelding has won five of 14 starts — including the January 14, $100,000 Red or Green Stakes (RG2) at Sunland Park, and last year’s 400-yard New Mexico Classics Derby RG2 at Zia Park — and the $5,000 third-place share of the Jess Burner purse bumped his earnings to $356,023.