12/27/2015 4:51PM

Shez a Hot Valentine leads Hialeah Derby qualifiers


A pair of fillies who most recently raced in Texas were the fastest qualifiers Sunday during trials for the $200,000 Hialeah Derby for Quarter Horses at Hialeah Park.

Shez a Hot Valentine, making her first start since winning the $148,000 Gillespie County Fair Futurity in August, scored by a half-length over I No Shes A Hot Mess in the first of six trial heats, covering 400 yards in 19.665 seconds. I No Shes a Hot Mess, making her first start since finishing fifth in a futurity trial at Lone Star Park in October, had the second fastest qualifying time of 19.745 seconds.

Trainers Judd Kearl and Kalah Welch qualified three horses apiece for the 10-horse Hialeah Derby finals on Jan. 17.

Kearl’s fastest qualifier was Ec Jet One, who got up by a neck over 8-5 favorite Tee Chic in 19.773 seconds in the sixth and final heat, recording the third fastest time during the trials. Kearl also won race 5 with Grey Eyed Hero, who nosed out first-time starter Timepaintyourwagon in 19.961 seconds.

Kearl pulled the biggest upset of the trials when Carters Sixty Six got up by a neck at 35-1, but the winning time for the sixth race of 20.015 was only the 12th fastest, so the 2-year-old did not advance to the finals.

In addition to first-heat runner-up I No Shes a Hot Mess, Welch qualified trial winners Pryme Time (19.852) and Fire Em Up Jess (19.989).

In the $25,000 Orange Blossom Stakes, the first leg of the Hialeah distance series, the 3-year-old Jmf Shazoomer ($25.40) snapped a 13-race losing streak by running 550 yards in 27.20 seconds. It was the second win on the card for jockey Francisco Ramirez and trainer Rolando Almanza.