$40,000-ADDED SAWGRASS STAKES DRAWS FIELD OF HIALEAH PARK HEAVYWEIGHTS AT 440 YARDS
Hialeah, FL / January 30, 2014 – The 5th running of the $40,000-added Sawgrass Stakes, carded as the eighth race on a nine-race program Sunday February 2, matches a competitive field of nine past Hialeah Park winners at the classic American Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards in what shapes up as a preview of the $100,000-guaranteed Sam Abbey Memorial Invitational on closing day February 23.
The heavyweights in the field include Dash Master Jess, winner of the $227,260 Hialeah Derby on December 29, 2013. The four-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry-Dash Master Miss has been razor sharp in two starts at the meet, earning fastest qualifier status for the derby with a dominating trials victory December 8 and following up that effort with a strong victory when the winner’s share of $95,449 on the line three weeks later.
Trainer Rolando Almanza, who handles Dash Master Jess for owner Cesar Rosales, will bring in Texas-based jockey Manuel Gutierrez for the riding duties. Veteran Rodrigo Vallejo –who guided Dash Master Jess to his two December victories– stays with another Sawgrass entrant Sure Shot B as the first-call rider for trainer Judd Kearl.
“Manuel knows Dash Master Jess real well,” said Almanza. “He’s won with him three times before, he’s a pretty easy horse to ride, so we’ll be fine. We thought about waiting for the (Sam Abbey Memorial) Invitational at the end of the meet, but seven weeks between races was too long.”
Like Dash Master Jess, Sure Shot B (Stoli-She A Miracle) has won back-to-back races at Hialeah Park this season. The well-traveled and highly accomplished five-year-old gelding started his local campaign with a 5th place finish in the Bienvenido de Nuevo Stakes December 8, came back to register a fast “super sprint” allowance win December 29, and stretched back out to 400 yards in his City of Hialeah Stakes score January 12. Sure Shot B, a winner of 8 races from 16 lifetime starts, tops all runners in the Sawgrass with lifetime earnings of $572,284.
It will be the same situation, two straight wins and running for a third consecutive tally, for Joltin Jess, winner of the extended-distance Crystal River Stakes (550 yards) and Moonstone Stakes (660 yards) down Hialeah Park’s world famous Widener Chute. Owner Glenn Graff and trainer Matt Frazier opted not to move forward with the six-year-old son of Take Off Jess-Jettin Home when the Hialeah Marathon Series stretched out to 1,000 yards in the Key West Stakes last weekend.
“It sure looks like a preview of the (Sam Abbey Memorial) Invitational,” commented Frazier. “We’ve been winding Joltin Jess down from those long ones and, the way he’s been acting, he should be competitive Sunday.”
The field for the 2014 Sawgrass Stakes, from inside to outside and barring scratches, will be: I See Visions, Dashin Beduino, Feature My News, Mo Zoomo, Joker On Jack, Dash Master Jess, Panther Speed, Joltin Jess, and Sure Shot B.