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Turf Paradise Handicap
Turf Paradise Phoenix, Arizona
February 13, 2016 Race #04
1-1/16 Miles-Turf 1:42.13
Rick Reynolds, Owner
Dru Hall, Trainer
Martin Bourdieu, Jockey
Ride Hard Kowboy (2nd)
Empire Knight (3rd)
$12.80 $7.00 $6.40
Order of Finish - 4, 9, 5, 1
Please Give Photo Credit To: / Coady Photography
In a hair-thin photo-finish Jamaican Memories beat out Storm Power to win the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Saturday at Turf Paradise.
Receiving a perfectly calibrated ride by Andrew Ramgeet, Jamaican Memories ($23.80) surged from deep in the pack to have his nose down on the wire, a whisker before a Storm Power. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to two-time defending champion and 6-5 favorite Absolutely Cool in the field of 10 older horses.
An unsustainable pace was blistered by the lightly raced Masterful Stride who posted early fractions of 21.14, 44.00 before tiring to finish fourth.
Owned by Minnesota-based James and Carol Bolin and trained by David Van Winkle, the Arizona bred Jamaican Memories raced the 6 furlongs in 1:07.73 while winning for the ninth times in 63 efforts for earnings of $290,437.
$35,000 Turf Paradise Handicap
Martin Bourdieu and Rocked Twice ($12.80) lulled the competition to sleep on the front end, then went on to win by a half-length with Ride Hard Kowboy second by one length over Empire Knight who finished third in the field of nine older horses. The 3-5 favorite Az Ridge was denied his hat trick victory by finishing fourth.
Owned by Rick Reynolds and trained by Dru Hall, Rocked Twice covered the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:42.13. Rocked Twice, who was winning for the first time over grass, has now won seven of 20 efforts for $168,056 in earnings.
$35,000 Sun City Handicap
Peppy Miller ($19.80) with David Lopez aboard came roaring from mid-pack to be a half-length the best over favored My Blue Sky with Hip Ninety Three another length back in the field of 10 fillies and mares.
Trained by Kevin Eikleberry for Colorado-based owner Raymond McElhaney, Peppy Miller raced the one mile over the grass in 1:37.37 to register her fifth lifetime win for earnings of $98,427.
Two Two-time defending champions will go for their respective hat tricks with Absolutely Cool in the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup and Az Ridge in the $35,000 Turf Paradise Handicap Saturday at Turf Paradise.
Known as Super Saturday because of three stakes races on the same card, the Gold Cup and Turf Paradise Handicap will also include the $35,000 Sun City Handicap.
The Gold Cup, which is celebrating its 60th running, features the track’s premier sprint race at 6 furlongs. It drew a field of 11 runners.
The Turf Paradise Handicap, for 4-year-olds and up, attracted a field of nine for the 1 1/16 miles turf test.
The Sun City lured a field of 11 fillies and mares for the one mile grass event.
The Phoenix Gold Cup
At 9-years-old Absolutely Cool keeps getting better with age. His come from dead last to first running style brought him victories in the last two Gold Cups. A perfect three-for-three in as many stakes efforts this season, Absolutely Cool has won over $366,000 from 11 wins for owner Karl Krieg and trainer Valorie Lund.
Should he prevail Saturday, Absolutely Cool would be the first three-time consecutive winner in the 60 year history of the Gold Cup. Absolutely Cool also finished third twice in the 2013 and 2012 editions.
Playing the role of spoiler is Robertino Diodoro’s four horse entry of Broadway Empire, Omar, Leo’s Lookin and Storm Power. Of the four, Omar, who finished third in this race last year and Broadway Empire, who has competed in Grade 1 events, have the best chance at spoiling the party.
Turf Paradise Handicap
Yet another veteran will be in the hat trick spotlight as two-time winner (2014, 2015) Az Ridge goes for encore performance as the first three-time consecutive winner of the TP Handicap. Now 7-years-old Az Ridge comes out firing every time. The son of Toccet just missed by a head in the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Jan. 16. The Sawyer Cattle Company owned Dan McFarlane-trained gelding sports a bankroll of $496,000+ while leading all entrants with 15 lifetime wins.
Sir Searsucker is looking for his fifth consecutive win and boasts a local turf record of 12-4-3-1.
Sun City Handicap
A highly competitive group of 11 fillies and mares makes for a challenging handicapping test in the Sun City. Five of the 11 entrants are coming off wins with Idling looking for her fourth straight win while stepping up in class and Queen of the Green winner Hip Ninety Three looking for her second stakes win a row.
Living up to his name Absolutely Cool turned on the afterburners in the last eighth of a mile and cruised to victory in the $35,000 Hank Mills, Sr. Stakes Saturday at Turf Paradise.
A generous 5-2 favorite, Absolutely Cool ($7.00), who is now a perfect three-for-three this season in stakes wins, was ridden patiently by Jake Barton, passing seven rivals with ease to win by three-quarters of a length. The Robertino Diodoro-trained duo of Storm Power and Omar finished second and third respectively in the field of eight older horses.
As is Absolutely Cool’s custom, he trailed the field until the eighth pole and then accelerated and lengthened his stride, winning with ears pricked, covering the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:02.37.
The Valorie Lund-trained Absolutely Cool previously won opening day’s Bienvenidos Stakes and then followed with a victory in the Luke Kruytbosch Stakes. Absolutely Cool next start will be the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup, Feb. 13, a race he’s won the past two years.
Absolutely Cool has now won 11 of 42 career efforts, with nine of those victories coming at Turf and has amassed earnings of $366,391 for owner Karl Krieg.
Sprinters with their eyes on next month’s Phoenix Gold Cup will test their fitness in the $35,000 Hank Mills Sr., Handicap Saturday at Turf Paradise.
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.
The Californians did a double stakes sweep, winning the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons mile with Somethings Unusual and with With a Twist in the $35,000 Glendale Handicap as the track celebrated its 60th birthday Saturday at Turf Paradise.
The moderately priced Somethings Unusual (8-1) rallied from next to last to eke out a head victory over a determined Az Ridge with Perfectly Majestic 1 ¾ lengths back in the field of nine older horses.
Ridden by Ignacio Puglisi for owner Bruce Treitman and trainer Michael McCarthy, the west coast invader Somethings Unusual ($19.80) covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:37.01.
The 8-year-old Somethings Unusual has now won four of 28 career efforts for earnings of $303,644.
JoAnn Fitzsimmons, Cotton’s widow, presented the winning trophy.
The favorite With a Twist ($4.00) slid through along the rail at the head of the lane to engage My Blue Sky and then prevail in a stretch drive over that one by a neck with Peppy Miller third in the field of eight fillies and mares.
Ridden by Brice Blanc for California-based Bob Hess and owners Jerry McClanhan and Ernest Marchosky, With a Twist covered the 1 1/16 miles over the turf in 1:45.56 and now has earnings of $268,423 from10 lifetime victories.