Big Money Weekend at Hialeah

Florida track hosts three six-figure purse races.

Q-Racing Journal

Gregorio Garza’s Moonin The Eagle tries to prove that his impressive career debut was genuine when he starts as the fastest qualifier to the $417,575 Hialeah Derby on Sunday at Hialeah Park.

Also on Sunday are the $204,715 Hialeah Maturity, $112,910 FQHRA Stallion Stakes Derby and the $25,000 Moonstone Stakes.

Trainer Rolando Almanza sends out the two-fastest derby qualifiers, Moonin The Eagle (One Famous Eagle-Your First Moon by First Down Dash) and BP Run Cartel Run (Cartel Success-Run Kita Run by Southern Cartel).

Moonin The Eagle, a half brother to Moonist, stood out in the eight trials when he won the fifth trial by an impressive 1 1/4 lengths while making his first start. The son of 2001 champion 2-year-old filly Your First Moon led the qualifier’s list with his :19.445 time for 400 yards.

The trial win becomes more impressive when it is considered that runner-up Kitty Kat Galore B (FDD Dynasty-Fast Prize Ginger by Oak Tree Special) has the third-fastest time of :19.676 and came off a win in the $69,771 Texas Classic Juvenile (R) for owner Byron Gardner and trainer Judd Kearl.

Palomino Trucking Inc.’s BP Run Cartel Run has the stakes experience to be dangerous. He won the $142,500 Black Gold 350 Futurity (R) by three-quarters of a length and then was fourth as the favorite in the $318,217 Black Gold Futurity Championship (RG3).

BP Run Cartel Run won his Hialeah Derby trial by three-quarters of a length and he posted the second-fastest time of :19.614, the equivalent of a length slower than Moonin The Eagle.

In the 440-yard Hialeah Maturity for newly turned 4-year-olds, owner Garza and trainer Almanza have another fastest qualifier with Daytona B (First Down Dash-Dashing Pana by Toast To Dash). 

Daytona B dominated the second of four trials by 1 1/4 lengths for his third straight win. His time of :21.517 was barely the fastest-qualifying time over El Macho Prieto Boy’s time of :21.519.

The winner of four of 11 starts, Daytona B started his current winning streak by taking the $40,680 Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge. He then showed his class when he won the $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenger Championship (G3) at Prairie Meadows.

M G Farm’s El Macho Prieto Boy (Hard Hitting-Silk Traffic by Dash Thru Traffic) steps up in class after running for a $10,000 claiming tag last summer. The Jesus Garrido-trained colt scored a mild surprise in his trial when he won by 1 1/2 lengths.

In the 350-yard FQHRA Stallion Stakes Derby, Yoandry Hernandez’s Game Rita (Game Patriot-Victorita by Victory Dash) and Shawn McCain’s Last Man Standin (Jodys Money Pop-La Jollas Game by Game Patriot) each came out of the claiming division to race to the top-two qualifying times.

Game Rita was claimed for $5,000 out of a winning effort two starts ago in November at Evangeline Downs. Trainer Yoel Luis brought the filly back in the Stallion Stakes Derby trials and she showed that was a clever claim with her 2 1/4-length domination in the first trial. Her time of :17.697 topped the qualifiers and set her up as one of the favorites when she makes her stakes debut in the derby.

Last Man Standin ran in a non-winners-of-two $15,000 claiming race two starts ago for trainer Judd Kearl and finished second by a head. Kearl brought the gelding back in the derby trials and he took the close decision this time when he won by a nose over third-fastest qualifier Hayjay (Ivory James-Hayleys My Name by Royal Streakin).

Last Man Standin was timed in :17.747 while Hayjay was clocked in :17.757.

Rancho Los Dos Portillos LLC’s Hayjay (Ivory James-Hayleys My Name by Royal Streakin) was second in the $74,935 Cherry Creek Futurity (R) for Colorado-breds last June at Arapahoe Park.

Rancho Los Dos Portillos will also send out probable favorite Emperor Valerian (Heza Fast Dash-Sheza Lil Val by Dashing Val) in the 660-yard Moonstone Stakes, the second leg of the Hialeah Park distance series.

The Anna Marie Crowson-trained Emperor Valerian took the first leg – the $25,000 Orange Blossom Stakes at 550 yards – by three-quarters of a length as the 3-2 favorite. The 7-year-old gelding has the class edge with a win in the $56,390 Remington Park Distance Handicap (G3) at 870 yards and being placed first through disqualification in the $20,000 Brigand Stakes over 550 yards at Ruidoso Downs.

Reimar Cabrera’s 9-year-old mare Sheza Fast Memorie (Granite Lake-Cash A Memorie by Leaving Memories) returned from an 11-month layoff to finish a competitive second in a $15,000 optional-claiming race over 660 yards at Hialeah on January 6.

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