January 16, 2011
Aquafina, a Grade 1-placed full sister to champions Ocean Runaway and Wave Carver, earned the first victory of her career in the $26,000 AQHA Maiden Stakes on Sunday at Hialeah Park. The 300-yard race was restricted to Bank of America Challenge-enrolled horses who were maidens at the time of nomination on December 22. The race card was contested under great conditions with partly cloudy skies and a fast main track.
Entering the starting gate, it appeared Aquafina had the field over the barrel, with speed indices and lifetime earnings far exceeding anything put forth by her other nine rivals.
Leaving the starting gate from post 10 as the even-money favorite, Aquafina broke well and gradually moved inside a lane or two under Francisco Ramirez Jr. Drawn on the rail, 11-1 longshot Prince Nemo took his best shot, ending up on the lead, with Aquafina in touch from the outside. In the final 150 yards, class prevailed, and Aquafina wore down Prince Nemo to win by three-quarters of a length with Dive In a half-length back in third.
The 3-year-old daughter of First Down Dash earned a 94 speed index for her time of :15.431 and picked up $15,600 for the win to push her earnings to $109,057. Although a maiden through her first eight starts, Aquafina finished third in the Sam Houston Futurity (G1) and second in the Hialeah Lassie Futurity. She also qualified to the Texas Classic Futurity (G1).
Bred in Maryland by owner Lucas Racing Inc., Aquafina is one of 16 winners out of the remarkably productive mare Runaway Wave. An AQHA Dam of Distinction and the 2005 AQHA Broodmare of the Year, the 16-year-old daughter of Runaway Winner has produced the earners of more than $3.4 million.
Now with just three days to go in the season, racing resumes at Hialeah Park on Friday with a 2:05 p.m. first race post. The final three days of the live American Quarter Horse season at Hialeah Park will be good ones with five stakes scheduled. On Saturday, January 22, fans have a chance to win part of $2,500 with the free “Hialeah Handicapping Challenge.” In addition, the track will offer an All Stakes Pick 4 on the Saturday card with racing highlighted by the $60,000-added South Florida Quarter Horse Derby. The track will showcase Cuban superstar Rey Ruiz free in-concert on Sunday, January 23, closing day. In addition, fans in attendance will receive a free Hialeah Park t-shirt, while supplies last. The closing day feature is the $60,000 Hialeah Invitational, which is expected to come up very, very tough. The second racing season at the historic oval ends on Sunday with a special 12:35 p.m. first race post. Hialeah Park offers free parking and admission every day, with valet parking available for just $3.
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