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Press ReleaseFebruary 22, 2014
The potent combination of leading trainer Brandon Muniz and leading rider Jesse Levario teamed up for three wins together—two stakes races plus the Hialeah Maiden Challenge—on the 10-race Saturday program at Hialeah Park, leaving both horsemen in commanding positions to win meet titles heading into the final day of the 2013-14 live American Quarter Horse season.
The Muniz/Levario heroics began with Miss JP Washer’s victory in the $25,854 Hialeah Maiden Challenge at 300 yards. The 4-year-old daughter of Mr Jess Perry, bred in Texas by Abraham Trading/Mitchell Ranch and owned by Ignacio Soto, broke alertly and finished strongly, going wire-to-wire to beat Eagle Illusion to the finish line by one-half length in a time of :15.619. The win was her second consecutive tally of the Hialeah Park season, coming on the heels of her January 26 maiden-breaker at 330 yards. Under the conditions of the Bank of America Maiden Challenge, winners remained eligible for the race as long as they were still maidens at the time of nomination. The Maiden Challenge and Bonus Challenge races are for Bank of America Racing Challenge-enrolled horses.
The official order of finish in a field reduced to 10 after the gate scratch of Runaway IJ was: Miss JP Washer, Eagle Illusion, Que Tipazo, Colorado Cartier, Accolady, Jess For The Roses, Hartack, Denim N Dash, Jezebel Gone and Jess B Tough.
One race later, Muniz and Levario returned to the winner’s circle with $30,000 South Florida Quarter Horse Invitational (R) victor Beduinosfirstrunaway. The 3-year-old colt by Ocean Runaway ran “straight and strong” from his outside post position in an eight-horse field, besting Eyes Your Date by three-quarters of a length at the wire in a time of :21.829 for the classic distance of 440 yards. The winner was bred in Florida by Sam Green and is owned by Ignacio Soto to give the owner two wins on the card.
The official order of finish in the South Florida Quarter Horse Invitational was: Beduinosfirstrunaway, Eyes Your Date, Fire Burning, JZ Fast Boy, Famous Washer, Indigo James, Runaway Et and Dream Ride.
In Saturday’s final stakes race of the program, the first running of the Miami-Dade County Stakes at 440 yards, Muniz and Levario completed their “hat trick” when Straightfromtheheart broke on top, found clear sailing early, took command and held his advantage to the wire in a half-length victory over Dashing Manner. The winner, a 4-year-old gelding by FDD Dynasty out of the Special Effort mare My Special Phoebe, stopped the timer in :21.679. Sunset Well Service Inc. owns the winner, who was bred in Texas by Kirk Goodfellow.
A field of eight contested the Miami-Dade County stakes after the morning defections of Patriots Fury and Le Fave, with the official order of finish as follows: Straightfromtheheart, Dashing Manner, Arbeka Raincloud, First Royal Classic, Okey Dokey Diamond, Mo Zoomo, Fast Dash Smile and Jets Quick Fortune.
The only stakes race that eluded Muniz and Levario on Saturday was the $46,200 Sunshine State Derby at 400 yards, an affair that eventually went to Eye Go Streakin, the original second-place horse, after Bold Six Love–who crossed the wire first–was disqualified for causing interference to Steeltoed Shoes DHD inside the final 100 yards. Eye Go Streakin, a 3-year-old colt by Streakin Six Cartel, was trained by Stan Webb and ridden by Roger Buening. Flying Fisch Farm Inc. bred the winner in Florida, and MLP “From the Inside” Inc. is the owner. The Muniz/Levario runner in the race, AHS Zoowee Mama, was fractious at the gate, stumbled at the start and settled for a seventh-place finish.
Going into Sunday’s 10-race closing day program, Muniz leads Alfredo Gomez by four wins (33-29) in the trainer standings and Levario holds a three-win edge (45-42) over Omar Reyes. Muniz and Gomez will each saddle five runners Sunday. Levario is named on eight horses closing day and Reyes on seven.
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