Ohio became the first repeat victor in the 15 runnings of the race named after the legendary coach of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Cotton’s widow, Joann, once again presented the winner’s trophy along with many former Suns players, friends and local media.
The Brazilian bred Ohio, who won this race last year by 6 ½ lengths for trainer Michael McCarthy, posted only a quarter length margin this time around over a very determined local entry Arizona Moon trained by Stacy Campo. The Irish bred River Boyne, also a west coast shipper, finished third in the field of 11 older horses.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr. the favored Ohio ($4.80) overtook the pace-setting Mr. Jagermeister (who finished fourth) as the field turned for home and then had to withstand the determined side-by-side challenge of Arizona Moon.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman, Ohio covered the one mile over a turf course rated good in 1:35.85, matching last year’s final time.
“He’s getting a little long in the tooth,” McCarthy said of the 9-year-old Ohio. “But who knows. Maybe we’ll be back next year for a three peat.”
$30,000 Glendale Handicap
Kool Kate ($9.20) under Chad Lindsay took the lead and the victory for owners Marvin Johnson, Seven Arms Stable and Dennis Smith. It was another 3 ¾ lengths back to California shipper Saburai with Unique Factor third in the field of 11 fillies and mares.
Trained by David Van Winkle, Kool Kate covered the 1 1/16 miles over a good course in 1:42.49 for her tenth win in 23 career outings.