The Fitzsimmons Mile, named after the late coach of the Phoenix Suns, drew a field of eight for the 8-furlong turf test. The Gold Cup, the track’s premier sprint race at 6 furlongs, lured a select field of six sprinters, including two previous winners for the 6-furlong sprint. The two supporting stakes are the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby at 1 1/16 miles, which attracted a field of 11 and the $50,000 Arizona Oaks at one mile with a field of eight.
Among the Fitzsimmons field of eight is Ohio (BRZ) a two-time consecutive winner (2019-20) of this race who is seeking an unprecedented three peat. Following his 2019 Fitzsimmons win, the Brazilian bred Ohio won the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, before returning to become the first two-time winner in 2020 of the Fitzsimmons Mile.
The Phoenix Gold Cup, which is celebrating its 65th renewal, has attracted two previous Gold Cup winners in two-time winner Chief Cicatriz (2017-18) and Minister of Soul (2019).
The Arizona Oaks appears to be a showdown between four California shippers and four locally based fillies.
Four-time winner Tony’s Tapit gets the edge on most wins while Golden Gate shipper It’s My House, trained by Bob Hess, gets the nod in best speed figure in the Turf Paradise Derby.