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February 5, 2012
“Hialeah’s horse,” Skyline Lover, turned in a dominating performance in winning Sunday’s $21,500 Key West Challenge Stakes at the unique distance of 1,000 yards. The race was part of the Bonus Challenge program for horses enrolled in the Bank of America Racing Challenge.
Trained by Matt Frazier and ridden by Shanley Jackson for owner Dan Frazier, Skyline Lover (Feature Mr Jess – Loves That Gold) took command on the turn and was geared down late to beat runner-up Absolve by almost three lengths. Royal Initiative finished 11 lengths back in third.
The winner, a six-year-old gelding bred in Texas by James G. Burgess M.D., set a new track record for the distance, stopping the timer at :52.224. That shaved .112 off the old mark for 1,000 yards previously held by Vital Winner.
The field for the Key West Challenge was reduced to three horses when Checotah Dale, Kudos For Quick Dash, Midnight Bushwhacker and Flyin Fish, Skyline Lover’s longtime nemesis, all scratched before the start the day.
Skyline Lover, winning for the seventh time—officially—at Hialeah Park, scored his 14th win in 32 lifetime starts while earning the first-place share of $13,975 for his connections. Skyline Lover crossed the wire first last time out at Hialeah in the Moonstone Stakes but was disqualified for interference.
In Sunday’s co-feature, the $22,750 Sawgrass Stakes at 440 yards, Mary Passmore’s Chi Ter (Granite Lake – This Chicks Stylish) registered a facile win over Fast N Furrious, Legendary Express and PLS Clock Watcher.
Chi Ter, trained by Jackie Kirby and ridden to victory by Cody Rodger Smith, covered the race distance in :21.457 and earned the winner’s share of $13,650. A 12-time winner in 30 career starts, Chi Ter has four other stakes victories, including the Oklahoma Bred Futurity (RG3) and Altoona Derby. The 5-year-old gelding, who was bred by Herb and Doris Pierce, has now earned $283,260.
The total mutuel handle for the 26th day of the 2011-2012 Quarter Horse season was $197,634. Sunday’s live attendance was estimated at 4,000, with at least 1,000 fans on hand early for the first of three Music At Midday concerts.
Live racing resumes at Hialeah Park on Friday, February 10, with a nine-race program scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. ET start. This National Historical Landmark facility now operates on a five-days-a-week schedule, with full-card Thoroughbred simulcasting Wednesday through Sunday.
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