02/28/2016 7:34PM

Kearl stablemates dead-heat for win in South Florida Quarter Horse Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockeys Agustin Silva on Carters Sixty Six (left) and Rodrigo Vallejo on Ec Jet One congratulate each other after the Judd Kearl stablemates finished in a dead heat for first in the South Florida Quarter Horse Derby.

Trainer Judd Kearl got the best possible outcome when the placing judges needed a photo to determine the winner of Sunday’s $204,256 South Florida Quarter Horse Derby at Hialeah Park.

The photo showed that Ec Jet One, the 1-2 favorite who had to come from behind after a troubled start, and the filly Carters Sixty Six reached the wire together, giving Kearl a victory with both horses.

It was the third stakes win on the program for Kearl, with Rodrigo Vallejo aboard Cruise by Diva ($6.80) in the $35,000 Beautiful Prairie and Jessies First Down ($3.80) in the $30,000 Miami-Dade County before taking a share of the feature with Ec Jet One.

Ec Jet One ($2.20), a Texas-bred son of The Louisiana Cartel, went 4 for 4 during the 10-week meet, including the $390,935 Hialeah Derby. He looked in deep trouble when Genovese, breaking from post 8, bumped into No. 9 Favored Fire coming out of the gate, causing Ec Jet One to get away slowly after he too was bumped.

Ec Jet One was closing fast nearing the finish of the 440-yard race and initially it appeared as if Carters Sixty Six ($4.80), ridden by Agustin Silva, had barely hung on. But the photo showed a dead heat, with both horses completing the distance in 21.717 seconds.

Following a stewards’ inquiry, Genovese was disqualified for interference coming out of the gate and placed fifth, moving Sprinster up to third place.

Carters Sixty Six, a Kansas-bred daughter of Carters Cartel, had back-to-back victories at the meet, including the El Nino Stakes, but had to settle for fourth during trials for the South Florida Quarter Horse Derby after getting bumped at the start.

Moonin the Eagle breaks own track record

The 4-year-old Moonin the Eagle broke his own track record that he set six weeks ago in winning his third straight race of the meet in the $150,000 Sam Abbey Invitational.

It was the second stakes win on the card for trainer Yoani Abreau.

Moonin the Eagle ($3.80), a California-bred son of One Famous Eagle, had clear sailing breaking from post 10 under jockey Ricky Ramirez. He drew clear late to defeat Fly Thru the Fire by three-quarters of a length, completing 440 yards in 21.192 seconds. He won the $204,000 Hialeah Maturity on Jan. 17 in 21.20 seconds.

In seven starts locally, Moonin the Eagle now has six wins and a second.