Among the nine Arizona bred races will be four stakes: the $25,000-added Cactus Flower; two divisions of the Arizona Breeders’ Futurities, one for fillies, the other for colts and geldings with each division worth $50,000 and the $25,000-added Cactus Wren Stakes.
Father, Charles Lopez, 55, and his two sons, apprentice jockey David, 25, and Eric, 27, will be competing in the 7th race on the card, the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity, for colts and geldings. They won’t have trouble finding each other, since they’re lined-up side-by-side-by side, with David in the 7 post, Charles in the 8 hole and Eric in the 9 slot.
The 3-year-old Aware and her stablemate Idling,- both trained by Don Schnell - appear formidable in the field of seven fillies and mares for the 6 ½ furlong test. The well-traveled, multiple stakes winner Aware has won six of 12 efforts while Idling has finished in the money in 13 of 21 races, including three wins, at three different race tracks.
AZ Breeders’ Futurity (Fillies)
A field of 10 2-year-old fillies are scheduled to go postward at 6 furlongs. A question mark looms over one of the probable favorites: The Molly Pearson-trained Myrna Lou. The daughter of Top Hit broker her maiden at Santa Anita, then followed with a runner-up in a stakes at Turfway Park and then inexplicably underperformed as the favorite in the ATBA Sales Stake November 2.
If Myrna Lou does not bounce back, waiting in the wings is impressive first-time winner Rock Your Baby. The daughter of prodigious sire Rocky Bar, trained by Kory Owens, has the look of something special.
Az Breeders’ Futurity (Colt & Geldings)
The boys also will put forth a field of 10 at 6 furlongs. This event is much more wide open than the girls’ counterpart, what with only four of the 10 entrants with a maiden win under their belt.
One to watch, however, may be another Triple AAA, Owens-trained Rocky Bar, Sharpton. Sent off the 2-1 favorite in his Nov. 19 maiden debut, Sharpton stopped suddenly at the quarter pole while on the lead. For the Futurity, Sharpton will run with first-time Lasix.
Cactus Wren Stakes
A field of 10, 3-year-olds and up will line up for the 6 ½ furlong stakes. The talent runs deep with a group of tested, multiple winning horses, each one knowing the way from gate to first at the finish.
There are no less than five entrants sired by Rocky Bar, with the 7-year-old veteran Espresso Springs leading the progeny with 10 victories and over $222,000 in earnings.
Next is the 8-year-old Frisky Ricky who has won 10 of 70 lifetime starts, with six of those wins coming locally.
The 4-year-old Mo Rock has not finished out of the money in his last six starts which includes four wins.
And then there are the two 3-year-old “Rockys,” JP Rocker, winner of the Gene Fleming Derby and Rockin Home, winner of the Az Breeders’ Futurity.