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Executive Prince, Joltin Jess Win at Hialeah

Stakes schedule at Florida track kicks off with races at 350 and 550 yards.

December 23, 2012

Hialeah Park notched another exciting weekend of racing on Sunday with stellar performances in the first two stakes races of the season.

Executive Prince and rider Agustin Silva were placed first following a disqualification in the $20,000 Bienvenidos De Nuevo Stakes. The 4-year-old Executive Menace gelding came into the race after success earlier this fall, including a victory in Retama Park’s Live Oak Handicap (R) and a second-place finish in the Classic Chevrolet Heartbeat of America Stakes (R) at Lone Star Park. The Texas-bred, who has now won five of 22 starts, is trained by Judd Kearl for owners Bennie and E. Teresa Jeter.

Gate-to-wire leader Freaking crossed the finish line first but was placed fourth after the stewards ruled that the gelding had interfered with his competitors.

The win was a cap on a successful day for Silva, who also rode Shanachee to victory in the fifth race. He piloted two qualifiers last week in the trials for the FQHRA Stallion Stakes Futurity (R), which will be run December 30.

Longshot Upgraded was placed second after finishing strong despite a jostled start and morning line odds of 20-1. The Eddy Malagon-trained filly by Hotdoggin out of a This Snow Is Royal mare covered 350 yards in :17.963, just .068 off the first-place horse in :17.895. She came in off a ten-month layoff with no starts since her seventh-place finish in the South Florida Invitational (R) at the end of Hialeah’s last season. Upgraded was ridden by Sergio Ramirez for owner Antonio Saavedra.

Finishing out the trifecta was morning-line favorite Dreamers Cartel, who also rallied after interference at the start.

Joltin Jess earned the victory in the $22,250 Orange Blossom Stakes at 550 yards. Despite bearing out in the stretch, the Oklahoma-bred gelding by Take Off Jess put a neck in front of Doyles Dashing Star at the wire. Joltin Jess was nosed out of a win in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Maturity at Beulah Park in his last start in October, following a convincing allowance win at Hoosier Park. He is trained by Matt Frazier for owner Glenn Graff and was booted to victory by Shanley Jackson. Final time was :27.211.

Doyles Dashing Star and Raul Gutierrez sat third at the start of the race but couldn’t quite top the winner for Rachael Stephens Lessee and trainer Gene Stephens. Doyles Dashing Star left the gate with 14-1 odds after hitting the board in four of her last five starts at Prairie Meadows, Delta Downs and Fair Grounds.

Finishing out the trifecta in the Orange Blossom was Honor Me Good under Alex Baldillez Jr., who hit the board in five of the day’s eight races.

Live racing resumes Monday at 2 p.m. with a special Christmas Eve card. Holiday festivities for the weekend include a chance to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painting, balloon animals and an appearance by Sunny the miniature horse and friends. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.