The track will be dark for Easter Sunday, April 5, with simulcasting only and no live racing. The annual Easter Sunrise service, hosted by the Lutheran Church of the Master for the 55th year, will take place at 6:00 am in the Grandstand outside balcony. Everyone is invited to attend the service.
The Arizona Stallion Stakes, which drew a field of six 3-year-olds, including a filly, will be run at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf.The Wildcat Handicap, the traditional prep for closing day’s final race, the Hasta La Vista Handicap, will be run at 1 3/8 miles (turf), and attracted a field of ten.
The AZ Stallion Stakes
Of the six entrants, Jungle Java sports the best grass experience with a maiden win and a strong second in the Tempe Handicap. Trained by Bobbie Grissom, Jungle Java’s pedigree – Rocky Bar (In Excess), makes him well suited for the turf.
Best Asset, trained by Dan McFarlane and to be ridden by leading turf rider, Geovanni Franco, has sampled the turf twice in 11 lifetime efforts, with his best placing a second in the Chuck N Luck stakes.
The lone filly, appropriately named My Cinderella, has yet to break her maiden in two attempts.
The Wildcat Handicap
A curious race given the four shippers, three from southern California and one from Sunland Park.
The California shippers: Perfect Set is coming off a 4 ½ victory in a low-level claiming event at Santa Anita. He is win less on the turf is six tries. Juniper Pass has been racing in Graded stakes company, winning the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano in 2011 at 1 ¾ miles. His $379,925 in earnings leads all entrants.
Stoney Fleece finished fourth in the Turf Paradise Handicap after campaigning on the southern California circuit. The 6-year-old has won six of 31 efforts on the grass.From Sunland Park, comes Brainwash, trained by Robertino Diodoro. The well-traveled 6-year-old has won four of 20 efforts with a second place finish on the turf at the Fairgrounds.
Locally, the ultra-tough AZ Ridge will command attention. Impressive winner of the recent Turf Paradise Handicap (turf), the Dan McFarlane trainee has won 11 of 36 efforts for earnings of $337,335, with three of those victories coming on the turf.