Strong Stakes Close Hialeah Season

Hialeah Park filled with classy stakes during closing weekend of the meet.

February 16, 2012

Defending winner Chi Ter faces perhaps the classiest field of stakes horses ever assembled at Hialeah Park on Sunday afternoon, when he starts in the $75,000 Hialeah Invitational Championship over 440 yards during an impressive stakes program on closing weekend.

Perhaps gaining the most attention on the card, local star Skyline Lover puts his impressive Hialeah Park record on the line in the $25,000 Sailfish Stakes over 1,000 yards.

Also on tap are the $100,000 South Florida Derby and the $20,000 Three Cherries Stakes.

Mary Passmore’s Chi Ter (Granite Lake-This Chicks Stylish by Chicks Beduino) was a 26-1 upset winner of last year’s Hialeah Championship for trainer Jackie Kirby and is in peak form to defend that win with back-to-back scores at Hialeah during the current season, each at 440 yards. The gelding won a $16,000 allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths and then scored by 1 1/4 lengths in the $22,000 Sawgrass Stakes.

Robert Gentry’s classy homebred Fredaville (Mr Jess Perry-Fearless Freda by Dash For Cash) travels from Los Alamitos where she was second against female rivals in the Merial Challenge Distaff Championship (G1) and third in the Charger Bar Handicap (G2), her most recent start.

Fredaville went three-for-three at Remington Park last spring when she won an allowance race and followed with wins in the Decketta Stakes (G3) and the Merial Remington Park Distaff Challenge.

JK Running Horses’ Jess A Runner (Jess Louisiana Blue-Katiebug Driver by My Designated Driver) makes his Hialeah debut after proving himself from the Midwest to Los Alamitos. The well-traveled gelding was third behind Favorite Cartel and Rylees Boy in the Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on October 29. He was then fourth in the Zia Park Championship (G1) and a close second in a Sunland Park allowance race.

Jess A Runner won the Two Rivers Stakes (G3) and was second to champion Spit Curl Diva in the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Challenge (G2) last summer at Prairie Meadows.

Dan Frazier’s Skyline Lover (Feature Mr Jess-Loves That Gold by Royal Quick Dash) is the all-time favorite at Hialeah Park. The gelding has crossed the finish line first in each of his eight local starts, although he was disqualified from the win in the Moonstone Stakes two starts ago. He rebounded to win the Key West Stakes on February 5.

The Matt Frazier-trained gelding dominated last year’s Sailfish Stakes when he pulled away from his rivals to win by nearly 6 lengths as the even-money favorite.

This year, before his Moonstone Stakes disqualification, he successfully defended his wins in the Orange Blossom Stakes and the Crystal River Stakes.

In the 440-yard South Florida Derby, Donald Jacobs’ TF First Pick (Dash To First Place-Pick Your Passion by Special Project) and Sheila Dorgan’s homebred SRD Bobwirebob (Coronas Prospect-Shouldabeenjoebob (TB) by Lesley’s Express) easily have the top-two qualifying times.

TF First Pick has thrived at Hialeah Park for trainer Ron Raper, with a win in the $223,840 Hialeah Laddie Futurity and then topping the four trials to the South Florida Derby. After winning the Laddie by a half length, the gelding stepped up in his South Florida Derby trial to win by a length, with the fastest-qualifying time of :21.571.

SRD Bobwirebob surprised at 15-1 odds in his South Florida Derby trial when he pulled out to a three-quarter-length win with the second-fastest time of :21.622. His best effort from three previous starts during the Hialeah season was a second-place finish in the $20,000 El Nino Stakes.

Raper will send out a pair of horses in the $20,000 Three Cherries Stakes for 3-year-olds at 300 yards.

Bobby Byrd’s Rapid Ivory (Ivory James-Rapid Fire Cash by First Down Leveaux) won the $109,000 Governor’s Stakes back in October at Hoosier Park and was third in the Biscayne Bay Stakes as the favorite two starts ago.

Jeanette Hoover’s Razmajazz (Country Chicks Man-Elusive Martini by First Down Dash) has won two of six starts and comes off a fourth-place run in the Tallahassee Stakes.