The Swift, at 5 ½ furlongs, is the traditional prep race for the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on February 14.
Coming as no surprise, speed is in abundance in the Swift. The question is, who is the swiftest among the swift who will dictate the lead? Of the 12 entrants, seven like to play the catch-me-if-you-can game. So, something has to give.
Of the seven horses it appears that Tannersmymuscle and Rockin Home may have a slight edge to be being the leader of the parade. Both horses are capable of ripping off :22 flat opening quarters in :44 half–mile splits.
Trained by Eric Kruljac, Tannersmymuscle has won four of 11 efforts, including his most recent allowance win locally Dec. 27. The 5-year-old has finished in the money in all five of his Turf starts, including three wins.
Rockin Home’s resume is just as impressive. The Arizona bred 4-year-old son of Rocky Bar, has won five of eight local efforts, including the Cactus Wren Stakes, Dec. 14 and prior to that, the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity.
Favoritism, however, should vie between the Robertino Diodoro-trained duo of Castletown and Omar.
The 7-year-old Castletown brings seven wins, a $243,580 bankroll and a perfect two-for-two record locally to the competition. His most recent victory at Turf was an optional claiming race where he coasted to 5 ½ length win.
Omar, who has won eight of 22 efforts, is working on his fourth consecutive victory following wins in Turf Caballos del Sol and Sunland Park’s KLAQHB Stakes. The 6-year-0ld son of Bertrando is a perfect three-for-three locally.
Of those horses tracking the pacesetters, Lotsa Mischief appears in top form following a bullet workout of :58 flat for 5 furlongs, Jan. 13. In his two most recent local efforts, however, Lotsa Mischief lost to both Castletown and Omar.
The one who may most benefit from a torrid pace is Absolutely Cool. The Valorie Lund-trained 8-year-old veteran knows his way around the local oval, having won five of 21 starts with 7 seconds and 6 thirds. Absolutely Cool won the 2014 Phoenix Gold Cup by racing from off the pace to post a two-length victory over top sprinter LA Weekend.