News - Racing December  3, 2022

Fastest Qualifier Denalia Sweet Jess Returns To Win Evangeline Downs Derby

Denalia Sweet Jess, under jockey Everardo Rodriguez, winning the $153,360 Evangeline Downs Derby on Thursday night at Evangeline Downs.

© Coady Photography

OPELOUSAS, LA—DECEMBER 30, 2021—Fastest qualifier Denalia Sweet Jess returned Thursday night to defeat Diane To Be A Hero by half-a-length in the $153,360 Evangeline Downs Derby at Evangeline Downs. One Slick Delight and Tm Evening Dancer dead-heated a half-length back for third.

Under leading jockey Everardo Rodriguez, Denalia Sweet Jess cleared the field while as she completed the 400 yards in :19.637 seconds, a 94 speed index into a 5 mph headwind. It was the fifth consecutive win for the daughter of multiple stakes sire One Sweet Jess. The $76,680 winner's purse doubled her earnings total to $155,313.

Trainer Rosendo Valdez Jr. saddled the winner for owner Jose Rodriguez. Bred in Louisiana by Russell P. Mowad, Denalia Sweet Jess is out of the Chicks Beduino mare Denali Chick. Her current win streak started last summer when she won a trial for the Lee Berwick Futurity(RG1) at Delta Downs.

The winning connections of Denalia Sweet Jess accept the Evangeline Downs Derby stakes trophy at Evangeline Downs. © Coady Photography
Multiple graded stakes finalist and stakes-placed Diane To Be A Hero earned $26,072 for second. Hector Alcala sent out the son of champion sire Valiant Hero for owner Rogelio Marquez, Jr. The gray colt was a finalist in the Dash For Cash Derby(G2) and Firecracker Derby(G3) earlier this year.

Eddie Crammer, Tom and Bill Maher bred Diane To Be A Hero in Louisiana from the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare Diane To Paint. Raul Ramirez, Jr. rode the $106,244 earner.

One Slick Delight and Tm Evening Dancer split $13,036 each for their dead-heat third-place finish.

Jokey Victor Urieta, Jr. had the riding call for trainer Alonso Neri aboard One Slick Delight. Alonzo Olvera Neri owns the One Famous Eagle filly out of Volcoms Delight by Volcom. George Mitchell is the breeder of the $52,818 earner.

Tm Evening Dancer races for owner Rosendo Valdez and trainer John Foutch. Ubaldo Luna rode the Apollitical Blood Louisiana-bred filly out of Backs To The Wall by Royal Quick Dash. Two The Max Investments LLC bred the $64,455 earner in Louisiana.

Denalia Sweet Jess, off as the wagering favorite, returned $4.20 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Diane to be a Hero paid $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show. One Slick Delight paid $6 to show and Tm Evening Dancer returned $3.80.

Louisiana Blue Fire, Dashing Jess Cuervo, Blame The Fed, Tmf Rouge Runner, Jrs Shiney Tee and Ec Fama completed the field.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For more information on the American Quarter Horse season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track's website at Evangeline Downs' Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at

About Evangeline Downs
Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.

Courtesy Ses