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Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile
Turf Paradise Phoenix, Arizona
January 17, 2015
One Mile-Turf 1:35.44
Stepaside Farms, LLC, Owner
Neil Drysdale, Trainer
Flavien Prat, Jockey
Red Zeus (2nd)
Az Ridge (3rd)
$4.60 $3.60 $2.60
Order of Finish - 1, 5, 7, 2
Please Give Photo Credit To: / Coady Photography
The combination of a French jockey, English born trainer and a Kentucky bred horse translated into Power Ped’s popular victory in winning the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Saturday at Turf Paradise.
The ‘Fitzsimmons Mile,’ named after the late coach and executive of the Phoenix Suns, was enjoying its 11th running in conjunction with the track’s 59th birthday celebration. As is custom, Cotton’s widow, JoAnn Fitzsimmons was joined by many of her husband’s friends and former Suns players in presenting the winner’s trophy.
Sent off the 9-5 favorite, Power Ped ($4.60), with Flavien Prat up, stalked the early pacesetting Storm Power before unleashing a burst of speed in deep stretch, leaving his nine rivals scrambling for second. Power Ped was two lengths clear of Red Zeus who was three-quarters of a length ahead of Az Ridge. Storm Power tired to finish fifth in the 10 horse field.
“Turning for home I was in the clear with plenty of horse under me,” said Prat, who is from Paris, France but now, rides in southern California. “So I just let him roll.”
It was the second consecutive win for the California-based trainer Neil Drysdale, a native of Surrey, England, who won the Fitzsimmons Mile in 2014 with Fire with Fire.
Owned by Stepaside Farms, the 5-year-old Power Ped covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:35.44, for his fourth win from 18 efforts and earnings of $274,132.
The Glendale Handicap
After finishing second three times and third once in four previous stakes, Rock and Glory ($7.00) finally got her victory when the hard-trying mare won the $35,000 Glendale Handicap, by three-quarters of a length over Lady Rosberg with She’s Stella Marie finishing third in the field of seven fillies and mares.
Ridden to a wire-to-wire victory by Daniel Vergara, Rock and Glory covered the 1 1/16 miles over the grass in 1:43.28 for owners Mercedes Stables and trainer Robertino Diodoro.
Phoenix - Cotton Fitzsimmons’ basketball notoriety always preceded him. As a player of the game, a coach and executive for the Phoenix Suns, Cotton’s love of the hoop game was widely known.
Cotton also had another passion – horse racing. He loved to handicap the races, bet a buck or two and then smile brightly when his pick won. When the Suns were in town, Cotton found time to mix court practice with some time at Turf Paradise oval.
So it’s no surprise that his namesake race – now in its 11th running – (Cotton died in 2004) would attract good horses, lured as much by the $75,000 purse as by Cotton’s name on the marquee.
Sometimes it’s the less heralded performer that performs best.
Such is the case with Twelve Tribes who upstaged his more fashionably bred stablemate – again.
Twelve Tribes ($9.40) and Geovanni Franco took to the wet-fast track like a duck to water and won the $35,000 Luke Kruytbosch on New Year’s Eve Wednesday at Turf Paradise. Finishing second was Taelyns Prince with Twelve Tribes’ stablemate and favorite, Edison, finishing third in the field of seven 3-year-olds.
On November 14 Twelve Tribes won the Jack Coady Stakes with Taelyns Prince second; Edison struggled to finish fifth.
Owned by Charles Garvey and trained by Robertino Diodoro, Twelve Tribes covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.56 for his fifth win in nine efforts.
Three-year-olds will get one last chance of a stakes win in 2014 in the $35,000 Luke Kruytbosch Stakes on New Year Eve’s Wednesday at Turf Paradise.
All thoroughbreds, regardless of the date they were foaled, celebrate a joint birthday on January 1 of each New Year.
The Luke Kruytbosch, which drew a field of seven and which will be run at 1 1/16 miles, is named after Turf Paradise’s late announcer who passed away in 2008. Kruytbosch was also the announcer for Churchill Downs.
The Luke Kruytbosch
Leading trainer and stakes winner (7 of 18 stakes wins), Robertino Diodoro, has two formidable entrants among the seven entered: Edison and Twelve Tribes.
Edison comes off a six week freshener, having won four of eight starts in 2014 at four different tracks, for $182,336 in earnings. A $950,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old purchase, Edison, a son of Bernardini, has two stakes wins to his credit, including the Grade 3 Canadian Derby. Edison finished fifth in his lone local start, the Jack Coady Stakes, to stablemate Twelve Tribes and runner-up Taelyns Prince, also entered in the Kruytbosch.
Twelve Tribes scored his third consecutive victory in winning the Jack Coady stakes as the favorite. Geovanni Franco, the meet’s leading rider, who’s piloted Twelve Tribes to all three wins, returns aboard the son of Street Cry.
Taelyns Prince, who’s adding blinkers for this event, has been campaigning primarily on turf. However, his lone start locally over a muddy track resulted in victory on Dec. 13.
Mr. Wild Kitty, who broke his maiden in winning the Colorado Breeders’ Derby at 1 1/16 miles, comes off a local allowance win Dec. 23.
That Cat’s Awesome has won four straight races while climbing the claiming ranks for trainer Eric Kruljac and is a perfect four-for-four locally.
Phoenix – The Robertino Diodoro stable keeps getting better – if that is possible.
Last meet and this meet’s current leading trainer, Diodoro, who’s already won seven of the 18 stakes offered so far this season, swept both the $35,000 Lost in the Fog Stakes and the $35,000 Arizona Juvenile Stakes Saturday at Turf Paradise.
Diodoro also won the second race with maiden Rock Hard Doll ($7.60) to go three wins from four starts for the day.
Lost in the Fog
It was Diodoro’s less heralded Outdated ($9.60) with Jorge Carreno aboard that upstaged stablemate Grand Full Moon to post an impressive 4 ¾ length victory over Highway Boss who finished a 2 ¼ lengths in front of Grand Full Moon, who barely rallied to save third in the field of eight juvenile colts and geldings.
Outdated, who was making his fourth lifetime start in winning his first stakes, covered the 6 ½ furlongs over a fast track in 1:15.47.
While Outdated tracked the pace-setting Shakin Schiller, the favorite Grand Full Moon raced five-wide throughout and at the half-mile pole was in seventh. Outdated took over from a tiring Shakin Schiller as Highway Boss mounted his bid to secure the runner-up spot. Grand Full Moon’s rally was too little too late and he saved third by a length.
Owned by Charles Garvey, Outdated increased his earnings by $21,049 to $42,999 from two wins in four efforts.
Arizona Juvenile Fillies
Diodoro would strike again, this time with Santa Anita shipper Freakin Amazing ($6.40), who registered a 2 ½ length victory over SUM Racer who was a 1 ½ lengths clear of the favorite Perfect Style who finished third in the field of nine juvenile fillies.
Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Freakin Amazing covered the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.05.
Franco gunned Freakin Amazing to the lead thereby denying Perfect Style her usual running position on the lead, forcing the New Mexico import Perfect Style to do battle with SUM Racer for the runner-up spot.
Owned by Mercedes Stables, Freaking Amazing’s winner’s share of $20,832 boosted her earnings to $48,832 from four career starts.