Saturday’s supporting stakes feature will be the $30,000 Glendale Handicap for 4-year-olds and up fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The Fitzsimmons will be contested at one mile on the grass. Both stakes attracted full field of 12 entrants.
The Glendale will go as the fifth race and the Fitzsimmons Mile as the eighth and final race. Post time is set for 12:40 pm.
Birthday celebrations include a free horse racing designed, long sleeve T-shirt to the first 4,000 fans. There will be free multiple bounce inflatables for the kids and a Fifties Classic Car exhibition in the family picnic grove. There will also be live music by the Aaron Nelson Project. To top off the fan amenities, there will be free birthday cake
Also, the Grand Canyon Pick 6 carryover pool must be paid out on Saturday.
Named after the legendary Phoenix Suns basketball coach, who was also an avid horse racing fan, the Cotton Fitzsimmons will be celebrating its 15th running. As is custom, Cotton’s widow, Joann, always accompanied by former Phoenix Suns players and local media, will present the winner’s trophy.
Starting his career in Brazil in 2014, Ohio made his first US start in 2016 at Santa Anita a winning one. After capturing the Fitzsimmons last year by a decisive 6 ½ lengths for his first career stakes victory, Ohio returned to his homebase in southern California and won the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Stakes at Santa Anita. The 9-year-old Brazilian bred son of Elusive Quality has competed only in graded stakes since then with moderate success. Trained by Michael McCarthy and to be ridden by Jose Valdivia, Ohio’s victory Saturday would mark the first two-time winner of the Fitzsimmons Mile. Ohio has been installed the morning line 9/5 favorite.
Ohio best bring his A game because among the shippers and locals are several that show they can upset the defending champ.
At 2-1 another California shipper, the Irish bred River Boyne, who has been very competitive in graded stakes company, cannot be over looked. Among his graded stakes wins are La Jolla (G3), Twilight Derby (G2) and Breeders Mile (G2), as well as runner-up finishes in the Hollywood Derby (G1), San Francisco Mile (G3) and Shoemaker Mile (G2).
Locally Gato Guapo (5-1), who finished third to Ohio last year in this race and the multiple stakes winning and brilliantly fast Mr. Jagermeister (6-1) figure to have a say in the outcome of a very competitive Fitzsimmons Mile.