The 5 ½ furlongs Mills, the traditional prep for the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup (Feb. 13), attracted a field of eight, including local sprint ace Absolutely Cool.
Absolutely Cool, who’s won the Phoenix Gold Cup the last two years, is undefeated in two starts this season, delivering as the favorite in both the Bienvenido and Luke Kruytbosch stakes. To say the now 9-year-old has a fondness for the local course would be understatement, having won eight of 26 starts locally with seven seconds and seven thirds. Trained by Valorie Lund, Absolutely Cool sports a bankroll of $345,342.
Also lining up are Rockin Home and Omar, which finished second and third respectively in last year’s Mills stakes.
Rockin Home finished fifth in the Kruytbosch after battling for the lead until the eighth pole. Trained by David Van Winkle, the Arizona bred Rockin Home won at Canterbury Park in an optional claiming race, Aug. 14. Another with an affinity for the local strip, Rocking Home has won 5 of his 6 lifetime starts locally.
Omar, one of two entered by leading trainer Robertino Diodoro, finished third in this race last year when known as the Swift Stakes. The 7-year-old son of Bertrando has won six of his 13 career wins locally.
Storm Power, the other Diodoro entrant, is coming off an optional claiming win, Jan. 3.
The ultra-consistent Jamaican Memories, who has finished in the money in 11 of his last 12 efforts, is also trained by Van Winkle. The 8-year-old’s local record of 39-4-7-15, has helped produce earnings of $244,364.
The lone shipper is the Jeff Metz-trained Kaabraaj, a lightly raced 4-year-old who has won three of nine starts, primarily at Emerald Downs and Golden Gate.
Also entered are: J P Rocker and Swiss Idol.