FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Trainer Almanza Repeats With Top Qualifier And Stakes Winner
“Déjà Vu All Over Again” For Top Conditioner As He Matches Opening Day Heroics
Hialeah, FL / December 27, 2015 – Trainer Rolando Almanza might have had a feeling of “been there, done that” after the second day of the 2015-16 live Quarter Horse racing season at iconic Hialeah Park.
Some 24 hours after visiting the winner’s circle with the top qualifier for the Hialeah Maturity and the winner of the Bienvenido de Nuevo Stakes, Almanza saddled the fastest qualifier for the $200,000-added Hialeah Derby on January 17, 2016 and sent out the first-place finisher in the $27,250 Orange Blossom Stakes.
His three-year-old gelding Jmf Shazoomer, owned by Elite Oilfield Services and ridden by Francisco Ramirez, Jr., was overlooked in the wagering at 11-1, but proved best by a neck in the Orange Blossom over a game Eyesa Shoofly Dandy. The winner, the son of Shazoom-Jess Bingo Beth, posted a time of 27.200 seconds for 550 yards in the opener of the three-race Hialeah Marathon series. He earned a check worth $16,350 for his connections.
“He broke a bit slowly,” Almanza said of Jmf Shazoomer. “He usually breaks well. Francisco kept him straight and got him going in time. It was a nice win for him and we’ll move on to the next race in the distance series (the Moonstone at 660 yards on January 31, 2016). We’ll see how far he can go!”
Earlier in the afternoon, Almanza sent out Shez a Hot Valentine –also ridden by Ramirez– to a hard-fought victory by a head over I No Shes a Hot Mess in the first of six trials for the Hialeah Derby. The winner stopped the timer in 19.665 seconds for 400 yards, the runner-up recorded a time of 19.745, and those two clockings stood up as the 1-2 times for the remainder of the trial heats.
The final list of the top ten qualifiers for the prestigious Derby will not be official until Monday because three horses tied for the tenth and final spot.
In addition to the top pair, these six horses qualify for the final: Ec Jet One (Kearl) 19.773, Tee Chic (Robinson) 19.816, Pryme Time (Welch) 19.852, Prized Wagon (Strickland) 19.886, Grey Eyed Hero (Kearl) 19.961, and Timepaintyourwagondw (Almanza) 19.970.
Volcom Bay (Kearl), Fire Em Up Jess (Welch), and Finnick (Welch) all recorded times of 19.989. A shake will determine which two of the three will run in the final.
A total of 54 horses ran in the six trials on Sunday afternoon’s nine-race program. Four scheduled starters in the trials for trainer Kasey Willis –The Fiscal Cliff, Streakin Pr, Bye Byefreighttrain, and First Prize Bonnie– were scratched because of licensing issues.
JOHN HERNANDEZ / DIRECTOR OF RACING NEWS & PUBLICITY
Jhernandez@hialeahpark.com / (305) 885-8000
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