Big Day for Kearl at Hialeah

Trainer hits the board in all three stakes on Saturday.

December 29, 2012

Trainer Judd Kearl had a banner day at Hialeah Park on Saturday with horses hitting the board in each of the day’s three stakes races.

There was little surprise in the outcome of the $20,000 Hialeah La Nina Invitational Stakes as betting favorite Rawhide Creek won the 400-yard contest going away. The Missouri-bred Ivory James filly was piloted by Freddie Martinez, notching his fifth win in two days. Rawhide Creek missed qualifying for the Hialeah Lassie Futurity during opening weekend when she had a troubled start and was shuffled back to fourth in her trial. She brought the victory home in :19.801 for owner Dutch Masters III and trainer John Stinebaugh.

Coming in a length-and-a-half behind Rawhide Creek was Head Trauma, who broke from the inside for jockey Rodrigo Vallejo and conditioner Judd Kearl. Ima Wagon came in a neck behind to round out the trifecta.

The betting public got it right again in the $20,000 Hialeah El Nino Invitational when Rodrigo Vallejo took the bettors’ choice Bubba Carver across the wire in front. The Wave Carver gelding shot to the front on the rail out of the gate and never gave up the lead, despite a strong charge from runner-up Fast N Furious B. Judd Kearl conditions Bubba Carver for owner Douglas Traylor. The winning time was :19.886 for 400 yards.

Runner-up Fast N Furious B put in a strong effort for La Nina winner Freddie Martinez, fighting back from a break in mid-pack, but he couldn’t touch the winner. Fast N Furious B won the Four Corners Futurity (G3) earlier this year at SunRay Park and brought home a second-place finish here for trainer John Stinebaugh and owner Kathy Pruitt Germany. Deadwood Dave survived a photo to place third.

Some commotion in the loading process caused a delay for the Hialeah Sophomore Invitational. Edge Em Out became extremely fractious in the gate and was a late scratch on the advice of the veterinarian and stewards. After horses were reloaded, even-money choice Ima Gator Fan got a clean break and held for the victory by three parts of a length over a late cavalry charge. The winner of last year’s South Florida Derby at Hialeah, Ima Gator Fan was ridden by regular rider Troy Crissup. The City Place filly is a homebred for J.L. Gladwell III and is under the care of trainer Grover Wheeler Jr. She came home in :22.139 for 440 yards.

Just behind Ima Gator Fan, four of the remaining entries hit the wire within a half-length of one another for a crowded place and show photo. Longshot Deer Oh Deer prevailed to take second-place for trainer Judd Kearl owner Gregorio Garza Garcia over Anns First Lady.

Live racing resumes Sunday at 2 p.m. EST with a card that includes the FQHRA Stallion Stakes Futurity, Hialeah Derby, Hialeah Lassie Futurity, Hialeah Laddie Futurity, and the Tallahassee Stakes.