05/16/2007 11:00PM

Miss Kittys Bar Bet fastest qualifier


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Usually, the fastest qualifier to a Quarter Horse futurity is the most sought-after mount in the jockeys' room, a horse certain to be among the top contenders for a lucrative final.

Trainer Hector Hernandez wishes he could have that loyalty after his filly Miss Kittys Bar Bet set the fastest qualifying time in the May 5 trials for Saturday's $366,100 Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos.

Rodrigo Aceves rode Miss Kittys Bar Bet in the trials, but also won a trial aboard Kindergarten qualifier Fighter on Fire. Aceves ride first-call for Adan Farias, the trainer of Fighter on Fire, and will ride that colt in the 300-yard final.

That led Hernandez to call jockey J.R. Ramirez, who is riding primarily at Delta Downs this spring. Ramirez will ride Miss Kittys Bar Bet for the first time in the Kindergarten.

"I had trouble keeping my rider," said Hernandez, who worked for a year as an assistant to Farias. "It doesn't happen too often."

Miss Kittys Bar Bet, one of four fillies in the field of 10, ran 300 yards in 15.32 seconds in the trials for her first victory. She was fourth in a maiden race while making her debut in April.

Hernandez, 27, is not concerned that Miss Kittys Bar Bet ran too well in the trials to duplicate that race on Saturday. "Sometimes you worry, but you have to make sure that you qualified," he said.

Owned by Steve Burns, Miss Kittys Bar Bet starts from post 5, which Hernandez hopes will give her an edge. "I think the middle is better than the far outside for a 2-year-old," he said. "She's a fast breaker and hopefully we can take advantage."

Fighter on Fire is one of three undefeated horses in the Kindergarten. Fighter on Fire won his debut in the trials; Cash This Okie and Daddy Dasher won maiden races in April and divisions of the trials.

Leading trainer Paul Jones has two qualifiers - Runs Hot and Go by Express. Jaime Gomez, who has won four of the last seven runnings of the Kindergarten, starts Carters Cartel.