Huge Upsets on Closing Day at Hialeah

Habits Secret, Mr Comando post victories at double-digit odds.

February 17, 2013

Florida’s Hialeah Park carded some of the biggest stakes of the American Quarter Horse meet on Sunday, and the closing day card produced some big upsets.

In the richest race of the day, the $208,090 South Florida Derby, Habits Secret scored a 13-1 upset from the rail as the colt by No Secrets Here drew clear to win by 1 ¼ lengths with Alejandro Luna up for owner and trainer Ricardo Martinez. He clocked 440 yards in :21.540.

Habits Secret, who was bred in California by Vessels Stallion Farm LLC, got into the race with the ninth-fastest qualifying time after finishing third in his trial. That was the first start of the year for Habits Secret, and this victory marked his second career stakes win after taking last year’s $106,722 Governor’s Stakes at Hoosier Park in Indiana. All told, the sorrel has compiled a record of 10-4-1-1 with earnings of $184,535. He is out of the Apollo (TB) mare Habitual Dreamer.

Horse Special Award Inc.’s Hey List, a Carters Cartel colt who won his trial with the third-fastest qualifying time, finished a solid second. James On The Run, an Ivory James gelding who won the FQHRA Stallion Stakes Futurity (R) for Rancho Los Dos Potrillos LLC, finished third.

The $75,000 Hialeah Invitational Championship Stakes went to Juan Cano’s Mr Comando, who lit up the toteboard at odds of 23-1 with Agustin Silva riding for trainer Felix Barraza. Mr Comando broke sharply from post three in the 440-yard event and won going away by a half-length in :21.518.

“We knew that he could do it. We know him, and he’s a good horse. As you see, he only ran twice, so he was ready for this one,” said Barraza in the winner’s circle, referring to the fact that the horse had only started twice since October 2012 in preparation for the Invitational.

Although this marked the first career stakes win for Mr Comando, who was bred in California by Porfirio Carrasco, the 5-year-old gelding had previously hit the board in stakes at Prairie Meadows, Fairmount Park and Hialeah. He has earned $88,565 with a record of 19-5-5-2. Mr Comando is a son of Feature Mr Jess out of the White Tie mare Unloved.

Rancho Los Dos Potrillos LLC’s Sstrickortreat, who finished a close second in the $192,520 Hialeah Derby on December 30, won a tight photo for second. Joltin Jess crossed the wire third but was disqualified and placed ninth for interference. That elevated Ricardo Martinez’s Freaking, a three-time stakes winner at Hialeah, to third.

Also on the card, Classy Cora drew clear to a 1 ¾-length victory in the $27,000 Sailfish Stakes at 1,000 yards. Ridden by Robert Cummings for trainer Ron David, the Oklahoma-bred mare by Coronas Prospect came home at odds of 11-1 and clocked the distance in :53.698.

“There’s a sentimental story behind the horse in that the owner passed away after she ran the last time in the program, so we knew he was over top of us watching us, and we had a lot of spirit going into it,” said Cummings about breeder and owner Bill Baker Haithcoat.

Classy Cora earned her first stakes win and second overall victory to push her earnings to $30,737.

Burton Charolais Quarter Horses’ Sassy Suzze, a Kansas-bred by My Designated Driver, finished a clear second with odds-on favorite Streakin King Corona in third.