Hialeah, FL / December 8, 2013 – Dash Master Jess –owned by Cesar Rosales, trained by Rolando Almanza, and ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo– turned in an eye-catching victory in his trial heat Sunday at Hialeah Park and became the fastest qualifier for the $200,000 (estimated) Hialeah Derby on December 29.
The thee-year-old sorrel colt by Mr Jess Perry-Dash Master Jess hit the finish line over two lengths ahead of runner-up Scouts Diva and recorded a time of 21.355 seconds for 440 yards, which was .255 of a second better than the mark second-fastest qualifier Panther Speed clocked in the day’s first trial.
“We knew he could qualify and everything went great for him today,” said Almanza. “He ran against Grade 1 horses in his last race before today at Lone Star Park (8th in the Texas Classic Derby). He won his trial down there and then he had some foot issues before the final.”
Almanza elaborated, “He’s so well bred, we decided to give him another shot. He’s supposed to win! I’m just glad my owner (Cesar Rosales) gives me horses like him and lets me run them where I think they can compete.”
All five trial winners –Dash Master Jess, Panther Speed, Rawhide Creek, Joker On Jack, and Dreamnwideopen– qualified for the lucrative final. In order, with times, the fastest qualifiers are: Dash Master Jess (21.355), Panther Speed (21.610), Joker On Jack (21.614), I See Visions (21.629), Scouts Diva (21.734), Habits Secret (21.735), Hey List (21.771), Rawhide Creek (21.806), Dreamnwideopen (21.809), and Stormy Cartel (21.814).
In Sunday’s feature race at Hialeah Park, the 5th running of the $27,500 Bienvenido de Nuevo for three-year-olds and up at 330 yards, the filly Valiant Lil Lady –owned by Bryon Gardner, trained by Judd Kearl, and ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo– prevailed by a neck in a driving eight-horse finish to record her 5th lifetime victory in 10 starts and her first win of 2013.
Valiant Lil Lady earned the winner’s share of $16,500 and pushed her lifetime earnings over the half million-dollar plateau at $514,056. She earned the lion’s share of that total when she garnered $432,533 by winning the $1,000,000 Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park in November of 2012.
“She’s a little filly, and she just can’t go 440 yards with the big boys anymore,” said Kearl. “But today, at 330 yards, the distance was perfect. We’re proud of her, but disappointed with our other horse (Sure Shot B) in the race,” he added, “She false started, lost her balance, and got left. But Valiant Lil Lady ran a big one!”
JOHN HERNANDEZ / RACING NEWS & PUBLICITY